Are we on the verge of an econmic's revolution.

Status
Not open for further replies.
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
First off the primary premise is that it's no longer rocket science it's rocket economics that's the issues. So if your staunch that no matter what happens private industry will never be able to compete with private please start your own thread.

To me it's just seems like if they can get the costs of launch down by a factor of ten-20 which it looks like they might, this will turn get the cost of production down, as making everything super light and efficient isn't as important, and people can start taking risks on big ticket items in space. Add to that, if a government funded programs can go the distance when there ain't tied down to trivial part like just getting there, there's a lot more that can be done.

I say all this from my perspective, it just seems like everyone is far too stuck in the past, talking about things that were only relavent to the space shuttle, or overly fixated on issues, that have known solution such as radiation, etc.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
Agree but only way to reduce costs that far will be full reusability which will require government investment. One route would be for NASA to contract for a subscale tech demonstrator for a Lox-kerosene VLHL booster. Launch from KSC, do an RTLS maneuver, and land at the SLF. However to make it affordable NASA would, I'm afraid, have to be completely excluded from micromanaging the program. COTS is a better model.

The fuel for a reusable rocket costs nothing. Most people who think the Shuttle proves "reusability isn't practical" have never really looked into why the Shuttle is expensive to fly.
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
vulture4":1b0bg6vp said:
Agree but only way to reduce costs that far will be full reusability which will require government investment. One route would be for NASA to contract for a subscale tech demonstrator for a Lox-kerosene VLHL booster. Launch from KSC, do an RTLS maneuver, and land at the SLF. However to make it affordable NASA would, I'm afraid, have to be completely excluded from micromanaging the program. COTS is a better model.

The fuel for a reusable rocket costs nothing. Most people who think the Shuttle proves "reusability isn't practical" have never really looked into why the Shuttle is expensive to fly.
See I don't think the launch costs are gonna be a major issue. I think it's simply about getting the competition up amongst companies but insuring demand for launches.


We need goverements to artifically create demand, no need to fund research or anything like that simply insure that if things can get done a for a descent price, you will recieve bussiness. Much simliar to the x prize, however be more focused, on insuring continued bussiness once the target has been met.

Also I think part of what needs to be done in to semi subsidies private industries. I.E. lanuch a sicence station through bigelow/spacex/ and pay some pharamceudical company to do research in orbit. Goverment gotta lead the way without getting involved in indivual companies, insuring open competition.
 
S

stevekk

Guest
So what does make the Shuttle so expensive to fly ? Why exactly are there thousands of people required to work on these craft between each and every flight ?

I am always trying to figure out if we learned any lessons from the whole Shuttle experience. We learned it's a great jobs program, but what else ?
 
B

Booban

Guest
I also thought the bane of the shuttle was that it was too expensive, but around here keep running into people who say otherwise. Apparently NASA itself is bloated and doesn't matter if they had a really cheap space plane to fly, all the support and infrastructure costs are tacked onto each flight making it expensive. I don't know really what, but like renting emergency landing strips all over the world and all the engineers just loafing around doing nothing when the shuttle is in space and not on the ground :lol: (j/k).

Besides that, only the orbiter is really reusable. The big fuel tank burns up and the little ones are expensive to clean up after being dropped in the sea. So some argue that it would be cheaper just building new ones rather than trying to do that. Not to mention those damn tiles, and foam, and ice etc....

But the shuttle is its first iteration. There are probably tons of lessons learned from which they could make a more efficient new shuttle. Shame to throw away all that knowledge and workforce.
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
stevekk":2lyhyyan said:
So what does make the Shuttle so expensive to fly ? Why exactly are there thousands of people required to work on these craft between each and every flight ?

I am always trying to figure out if we learned any lessons from the whole Shuttle experience. We learned it's a great jobs program, but what else ?
It's why big goverement shouldn't get involved in RND. They make ideal plans, don't stick to them, and end up costing far more than it should. If there's 100 componets and they all cost 10 time more than they should, it's no biggy as long as no one looses jobs. It's all good. The struture is designed to keep waste going. It's simply a mess. France had a simliar issue when big goverement tried to install, internet in the early 90's before the privatised explosion in internet providers.

what irritates me most though is the space industry, has a massive amount of lobby groups that have zero interest in space becoming cheaper as it means less jobs for them, and loss of supremacy/monopoly.

Don't get me wrong a large part of the problem is that gov's get in the way of economics the shuttle made alot of sense when it was planned to build tweleve, and could outsource it's demand, to private industry. But when gov count funding for just four it meant alot of the industries around it pulled out furhter increasing the in house costs.
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
I was interested in the price per kg to LEO of all the Space X follow-on proposed LV designs. There was three rule of thumbs for pricing:
1) That a three core heavy version will have a cost per kg to LEO of 67% of that of a single core vehicle. This pricing model is proven out by the Delta IV Heavy over the Delta IV.
2) That an improved engine version that increases payload capability will be the same cost as its earlier engine LV version. The increased payload capability gives a lower cost per kg to LEO.
3) A new vehicle design that has the approximate same capability in a single core vehicle that the earlier three core heavy had would be the same cost to 85% of the cost per kg to LEO, basically cheaper than the earlier heavy.
The Falcon 9 with a Merlin 1 starts at $5,333 per kg to LEO. (10.5 MT to LEO)
The Falcon 9 Heavy with Merlin 1 is then at $3,400. (32MT to LEO)
The Falcon 9 Heavy with Merlin 2 is then at $2,900. (34MT to LEO)
The Falcon X is then at $2,442. (38MT to LEO)
The Falcon X Heavy is then at $1,416. (125MT to LEO)
The Falcon XX is then at $1,264. (140MT to LEO)
The Falcon XX Heavy is then at $733. (420MT to LEO) This version is a logical extension of the Falcon XX but is not listed in SpaceX’s proposed future vehicles.

So just in the simple logical progression by increasing the payload capability will bring down the cost per kg by a factor of 10. This does not even require any advances in technology, although the first stage of all of these are listed as being reusable.

If Space X can’t get it’s recovery of the first stage to work the prices for the entire series will go up significantly.

If this pricing holds true then the Falcon XX Heavy would make possible things like the 10GW Space Based Solar Power Satellite to be economically competitive to a coal power plant. So you are correct that we are at the corner of an explosion in a space industry economic revolution. More capability begets lower cost, begets more demand, begets development of more capability…
 
G

guile

Guest
oldAtlas_Eguy":3qtfmymp said:
I was interested in the price per kg to LEO of all the Space X follow-on proposed LV designs. There was three rule of thumbs for pricing:
1) That a three core heavy version will have a cost per kg to LEO of 67% of that of a single core vehicle. This pricing model is proven out by the Delta IV Heavy over the Delta IV.
2) That an improved engine version that increases payload capability will be the same cost as its earlier engine LV version. The increased payload capability gives a lower cost per kg to LEO.
3) A new vehicle design that has the approximate same capability in a single core vehicle that the earlier three core heavy had would be the same cost to 85% of the cost per kg to LEO, basically cheaper than the earlier heavy.
The Falcon 9 with a Merlin 1 starts at $5,333 per kg to LEO. (10.5 MT to LEO)
The Falcon 9 Heavy with Merlin 1 is then at $3,400. (32MT to LEO)
The Falcon 9 Heavy with Merlin 2 is then at $2,900. (34MT to LEO)
The Falcon X is then at $2,442. (38MT to LEO)
The Falcon X Heavy is then at $1,416. (125MT to LEO)
The Falcon XX is then at $1,264. (140MT to LEO)
The Falcon XX Heavy is then at $733. (420MT to LEO) This version is a logical extension of the Falcon XX but is not listed in SpaceX’s proposed future vehicles.

So just in the simple logical progression by increasing the payload capability will bring down the cost per kg by a factor of 10. This does not even require any advances in technology, although the first stage of all of these are listed as being reusable.

If Space X can’t get it’s recovery of the first stage to work the prices for the entire series will go up significantly.

If this pricing holds true then the Falcon XX Heavy would make possible things like the 10GW Space Based Solar Power Satellite to be economically competitive to a coal power plant. So you are correct that we are at the corner of an explosion in a space industry economic revolution. More capability begets lower cost, begets more demand, begets development of more capability…
...begets private expansion which would allow jobs to be had. At the same time making the average person believe "hey, space is actually providing economic growth in this country!". ;)
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
guile":2t2m3aqr said:
...begets private expansion which would allow jobs to be had. At the same time making the average person believe "hey, space is actually providing economic growth in this country!". ;)
If you think space is about job creation your missing the point entirly. Less people doing thework the cheaper it becomes. It's about 100 other things but job creation is a secondary benefit not a goal.


Good point about the Falcon xx heavy or whatever. But the thing is something like that won't see the light of day for atleast15 years. By then demand should go up dramtically if this were the case than, so there might be an even added price advantage for scaled production.

I also think it's important spacex has a realistic competitor maybe an indian company or something. To keep them on target.
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
As far as Space X goes, Boeing and Lockheed Martin will keep the pressure on at least for the next 5 years while Space X is establishing itself as the most sought after launcher. Until Space X develops the Falcon 9 Heavy they will not be able to compete for the heavier government payloads that fly now on the Atlas V and Delta IV Heavy. Boeing and Lockheed Martin being able to use the same cores for medium and medium heavy payloads will make sufficient quantity to make the versions that directly compete with a Falcon 9 (10.5MT single core version) be a significant competitive price preasure.

The values I used for the Space X possible pricing is in current 2010 dollars without inflation. But inflation has its own effects on pricing for costly items in the commercial market, it forces the companies to increase the workforce efficiencies, improve performance, and other cost cutting measures to keep up with new competitor’s prices. This is what has been slowly happening to the LV launch prices, companies have done better at controlling costs.

The cost of kg to LEO has been going down, not just in real dollars, but significantly when inflation is added. In 1969 the rate to LEO was $10,000 per kg, today accounting for inflation that would be equal to $57,862. Falcon 9 is at $5400 per kg to LEO so that is a factor of 10 cheaper than it was 40 years ago.

An additional factor of 10 is reasonable but how long will it take to come about? 10 years. 20 years. 40 years!
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
oldAtlas_Eguy":3kwq44eb said:
As far as Space X goes, Boeing and Lockheed Martin will keep the pressure on at least for the next 5 years while Space X is establishing itself as the most sought after launcher. Until Space X develops the Falcon 9 Heavy they will not be able to compete for the heavier government payloads that fly now on the Atlas V and Delta IV Heavy. Boeing and Lockheed Martin being able to use the same cores for medium and medium heavy payloads will make sufficient quantity to make the versions that directly compete with a Falcon 9 (10.5MT single core version) be a significant competitive price preasure.

The values I used for the Space X possible pricing is in current 2010 dollars without inflation. But inflation has its own effects on pricing for costly items in the commercial market, it forces the companies to increase the workforce efficiencies, improve performance, and other cost cutting measures to keep up with new competitor’s prices. This is what has been slowly happening to the LV launch prices, companies have done better at controlling costs.

The cost of kg to LEO has been going down, not just in real dollars, but significantly when inflation is added. In 1969 the rate to LEO was $10,000 per kg, today accounting for inflation that would be equal to $57,862. Falcon 9 is at $5400 per kg to LEO so that is a factor of 10 cheaper than it was 40 years ago.

An additional factor of 10 is reasonable but how long will it take to come about? 10 years. 20 years. 40 years!
Well I believe what needs to be done now is for companies to move away from ultra light tech's, or overdesigned products, and start getting on the wagon of mass produced stuff that is cheap to make. Make it a 50/50 split between launch costs and production.

If a falcon xx heavy were made it could send a ISS into space for the price of just 280 mil (1 pcercent of nasa budget), of course it would be at that point that manufacturing would be the bulk of cost. It can be done if there's a push from industry.
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
It used to be, as little as 10 years ago, that your only competitor in the space business was someone else operating in your same country. That has changed, even though getting export permissions is still tough it can be done so that a satellite built in the US can be launched on a Russian rocket. This has caused the LV providers to compete globally not just locally for commercial customers. Governments still require nationally provided launchers to launch their own satellites although the exceptions to this are growing, specifically in the case of scientific payloads.

LV providers are finding that just catering to their government is not enough if they want to make more than an irregular occurring fixed fee amount of profit. Without a steady profit and revenue the LV business becomes less attractive. When mixing both government and commercial to fill out the LV schedule to a more regular income and a significant profit margin, competition for the commercial payloads has been a fierce battle. This battle has now started to affect government contracting for LV’s. Providers with commercial launches are now battling it out for the other half of launches being contracted out by the governments. The competition is now not only for commercial payloads but government ones as well.
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
Sounds exciting. I'd just like to know which goverment will buy it's first space station from bigelow. I mean for say a 1billion, a small country could be a major competitor with the ISS.
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
Bigelow is not selling the modules but only renting them for I think it was $395 mil a year for 3 person space and equipment. The key here is that a country or customer has little or no outlay until they move in. Where else can you get a deal like that! No upfront development expenses only operating expenses. Customers that would not normally spend for development will spend for immediate results which have almost no economic risk. If you had to pay for the development of the hardware before you could then use it with no guarantee it was going to work or the company building would stay in business most customers that are interested in Bigelow’s space station rental program would not do anything. Bigelow is generating new customers that would not normally be doing space station stuff because he is lowering their economic risk.
 
B

believer_since_1956

Guest
Von Braun orginally visualized the hub of his "wheel" space station to be inflatable with armor added to stiffen and provide micro-meteor protection. I have often wondered if with the aid of an external bracing structure and engines that one the Bigelow structures could be turned into a vehicle especially with an efficient ion engine low thrust but continous acceleration.
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
believer_since_1956":1efvmypw said:
Von Braun orginally visualized the hub of his "wheel" space station to be inflatable with armor added to stiffen and provide micro-meteor protection. I have often wondered if with the aid of an external bracing structure and engines that one the Bigelow structures could be turned into a vehicle especially with an efficient ion engine low thrust but continous acceleration.
I believe the Bigelow space station specifies using ion thrusters to do orbit maintenance. From there it would not be too much of a stretch to using more powerfull thrusters or just larger tanks to make significant orbit changes or even leaving Earth orbit.
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
oldAtlas_Eguy":1aod8ado said:
believer_since_1956":1aod8ado said:
Von Braun orginally visualized the hub of his "wheel" space station to be inflatable with armor added to stiffen and provide micro-meteor protection. I have often wondered if with the aid of an external bracing structure and engines that one the Bigelow structures could be turned into a vehicle especially with an efficient ion engine low thrust but continous acceleration.
I believe the Bigelow space station specifies using ion thrusters to do orbit maintenance. From there it would not be too much of a stretch to using more powerfull thrusters or just larger tanks to make significant orbit changes or even leaving Earth orbit.
All very good to know. But ain't 395 mil a year a bit pricey? I though he gave super deals if your rent was long term?
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
Skyskimmer":3lg8kx20 said:
oldAtlas_Eguy":3lg8kx20 said:
believer_since_1956":3lg8kx20 said:
Von Braun orginally visualized the hub of his "wheel" space station to be inflatable with armor added to stiffen and provide micro-meteor protection. I have often wondered if with the aid of an external bracing structure and engines that one the Bigelow structures could be turned into a vehicle especially with an efficient ion engine low thrust but continous acceleration.
I believe the Bigelow space station specifies using ion thrusters to do orbit maintenance. From there it would not be too much of a stretch to using more powerfull thrusters or just larger tanks to make significant orbit changes or even leaving Earth orbit.
All very good to know. But ain't 395 mil a year a bit pricey? I though he gave super deals if your rent was long term?
Currently the US is spending $2 billion a year for ISS space for 3. For other countries 395mil a year is a bargin.
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
oldAtlas_Eguy":1mylajeu said:
I believe the Bigelow space station specifies using ion thrusters to do orbit maintenance. From there it would not be too much of a stretch to using more powerfull thrusters or just larger tanks to make significant orbit changes or even leaving Earth orbit.
All very good to know. But ain't 395 mil a year a bit pricey? I though he gave super deals if your rent was long term?[/quote]

Currently the US is spending $2 billion a year for ISS space for 3. For other countries 395mil a year is a bargin.[/quote]

I'm aware of that, but weren't they intially offering a full pod for just 150 mil a year?
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
Skyskimmer":r9x122cj said:
oldAtlas_Eguy":r9x122cj said:
I believe the Bigelow space station specifies using ion thrusters to do orbit maintenance. From there it would not be too much of a stretch to using more powerfull thrusters or just larger tanks to make significant orbit changes or even leaving Earth orbit.
All very good to know. But ain't 395 mil a year a bit pricey? I though he gave super deals if your rent was long term?
Currently the US is spending $2 billion a year for ISS space for 3. For other countries 395mil a year is a bargin.[/quote]

I'm aware of that, but weren't they intially offering a full pod for just 150 mil a year?[/quote]

You may be correct. I can't find the reference on exactly what the 395mil covered. It could have been the complete Alpha station of 12 person capability. At 250 mil to get the two Sundancer and one BA330 along with a connector module into orbit total cost to for the Alpha station would be about $1bil. I believe the rental fee also included cargo resupply but not Human transport. Resupply for 12 would cost 450 mil to 600 mil a year (6 to 8 Dragon flights), that is why I said 395 mil for 3 is more realistic. 150 mil for module rental not including resupply would be in line with a value of 395 including resupply.
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
I think it was that price if you rented one month at a time, I believe it's much smaller if you rent for more than a year at a time. according to wiki there selling ba 330's for 3 peeps for the price of 100 mil if they last 10 years that's a price of 3 mil a person per year of course that's just a estimate

From what I gather there gonna have rapid cost reduction, once than can pump out several units a year, and keep em up there for more than 24 months at a time(ideally 10 years).

I'm a strong believer that within 15 year's they'll have over 100 units launched into space. Whether or not there housing 3 or up to 12 astronaut's is really the question.

They along with musk have a strong strong interest to getting the price down as much as possible even before they pay off the RND. Because each time they cut their price in half, logically demand has to atleast double just by maintaining there current investment, when in reality, if they can get there cost down by a factor of ten will have between 100 and 1000, times the demand for there services.

If they can magically get the price down to 500 bucks per kilo assuming(heavy lift of 420 megatons/have say a launch of week, there raking in 10 bil in revenue just for space x.

Say give Bigelow, a rent of 500k per head a year, and they could still be making 10 bil a year with just 20 thousand people in space.

I know these numbers sound outrageus, but in 20 year's it's assumed that you have china/india/usa/euro/ plus friends footing the bill. 20 bil a year(nasa budget ain't crazy.

And they price for spacex/bigelow is nothing extreme optimistic yes, but they'd be doing alot of bussiness it's assumed they be able to drastically reduce cost.
 
V

vulture4

Guest
I think it's simply about getting the competition up amongst companies but insuring demand for launches.
Check your Econ 101 under the curves of supply and demand. Increased demand raises prices, it doesn't lower them. When NASA decided to buy seats on Soyuz the price almost doubled. Everyone squawked. But it's exactly what the most basic laws of economics predict. This is a widespread misconception in the space enthusiast community; it would do not good at all for the government simply to create demand. Similarly, competition already occurs, but can't lower prices below the point of maximum profitability. Competition would only lower price if the market were currently a monopoly, and it is not.

The only thing that will lower cost is new technology, ultimately for a fully reusable launch system, but development is expensive and will take so long that private industry can't afford it. This was why the Shuttle program was started. Obviously the Shuttle is more expensive than planned, that does not mean it was the wrong approach. It as only our first attempt.
 
O

oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
Econ 101, supply and demand is where price goes up or down to cause the supply to match the demand. If you increase supply the price goes down until demand equals supply or the price reaches the minimum that the item can be produced at. The other things that happen is that more expensive suppliers go out of business which reduces supply so prices equalize but with different providers than before. That is where we are at now. There are new players on the field whose prices are being used to gain customers from the higher priced providers who was meeting current demand. What will happen is that the higher priced providers will either reduce their costs or quit being a provider since they cannot get enough customers. This is happening to the Delta II, with Falcon 9 and Taurus II underpricing the Delta II and even offering more payload capability it can no longer compete. The payload Demand for the Delta II has to go somewhere and it will maintain the prices as they are currently shaping up. Supply is already higher than demand and the mechanism causes the highest cost boosters to be retired every time a new booster that is in the same payload range and is cheaper is added. Price is currently as low as the providers can make it and still stay in business, so the things that like you say is that can effect lowering prices is new technology, economies of scale, or increases in efficiency like increasing payload capability.
 
S

Skyskimmer

Guest
As I've said companies getting monopolies are my biggest fear, but I don't think it's likely to happen, because as it gets cheaper demand will serge. Instead of 6 flights a year at 50k a kil, you'll havee 100 fold increase in mass going to space, at 5k per kilo,. The more volume going up the more a competitor will wanna get a peace of the action. I think companies like bigelow will realize that they need to have super cheap pricing to stay off compeititon, if they get lazy and don't keep profit tightly above cost, they will be setting the stage for competition. Again it's everyone playing off eachother that will make this hard to predict.
 
M

MeteorWayne

Guest
I just don't see a demand surge. For what? How many businesses need to launch stuff into space? For what?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

Latest posts