SpaceX Updates

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danhezee

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job1207":3gto8ccl said:
It is not at all clear just how much a Falcon X would cost. If NASA puts the rocket up for bids, then Spacex would bid on it. I cannot imagine that they would go for TWO heavy launchers however. For SpaceX to get that contract, it would take a leap, which it does not appear Congress is ready to do.

Spacex does have a lot of its plate, and so, they DO need to execute at a quickening pace in order to get all of the flights on their manifest into space.

I imagine that someone has a plan to go to the moon privately, but that would have to present a valid business plan before I would believe it is possible.
Its seems both bigelow and spacex have a "if you build it they will come" atitude. As long as bigelow and spacex hold their current schedules, I would be surprised not to see a manned lunar base before 2030.
 
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job1207

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To get the cost of a billion dollar rocket down to tourist cost, you would have to take 40 at a time. ( $50 million ) One capsule would not accommodate that effort.

I am not designing a rocket, but when you add up the costs, it is interesting.

Now, I see the move to the Merlin 2 1.2 million pound thrust engine as a cost saving move. One large engine is probably less expensive than 9. So, they seem to be thinking about actually doing it.

We will see if the costs come out. I doubt it. Lunar flights and beyond are an entirely different animal.
 
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docm

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Actually - the M2 is more the equivalent of 11 M1's, giving an M2/F9 core quite an advantage. I would also inagine that the thrust structure would be less complex to build (fewer attachment points etc)
 
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stevekk

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docm":8hhu5p3q said:
Actually - the M2 is more the equivalent of 11 M1's, giving an M2/F9 core quite an advantage. I would also inagine that the thrust structure would be less complex to build (fewer attachment points etc)
Any idea why the M2 was in the same slide as the J2-X in the slide ? That is definately comparing apples and oranges, correct ?

They say the M2 is just a "scaled-up" M1 engine, that would only cost $1B to develop. How much did they spend to develop the "original" Merlin engine ?

Do we have a cost for each Merlin 1e engine now ? I assume it would be more than 5 mil per engine.
 
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alpha_centauri

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stevekk":391nxkfl said:
Any idea why the M2 was in the same slide as the J2-X in the slide ? That is definately comparing apples and oranges, correct ?
I believe they are implying the M2 will be the first stage engine while the J2-X could be the upper stage engine of the heavy lift rockets, hence why it talks about it already being in development (i.e lower risk, near-term availability).

stevekk":391nxkfl said:
They say the M2 is just a "scaled-up" M1 engine, that would only cost $1B to develop. How much did they spend to develop the "original" Merlin engine ?
Don't know, but $1bn for an F-1 class engine sounds cheap......
 
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docm

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My take: it'll cost a lot less than that because I have this feeling they started working on right after they were sure M1 would work. Ask for $1B, get a fraction and make sure even that's more than you needed.
 
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Valcan

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docm":og8j1rux said:
My take: it'll cost a lot less than that because I have this feeling they started working on right after they were sure M1 would work. Ask for $1B, get a fraction and make sure even that's more than you needed.
Military does that alot. Ask for 60 LCS when your planning on getting 40 etc.
 
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frodo1008

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Spacex also has the great advantage of all the original ground work for an engine of that class of power having been not only planned, but built and actually used in the original F1.

For instance, solving the very large combustion instability problems at the face of the large injector needed for such power almost was a show stopper for the entire Apollo project. This was eventually solved by the complex baffles installed directly on the injector face,which stopped the vibrations there from propagating and destroying the entire engine.

Having this type of very expensive research and testing be already done should be worth literally $billions to someone else also wishing to build such an engine!

However, having had experience in manufacturing for such large liquid propellant rocket engines, I can tell you that it will neither be as easy, nor as cheap, as some here might think it is going to be. Just having even the handling equipment to move around the various major sub-assemblies for a 14,000 lb (that is in weight of the engine itself, not in its thrust) class engine is not cheap in itself. And the machines needed to cut and shape the very tough metals needed to stand up to the temperatures and pressures generated by such an engine are NOT cheap by any stretch of the imagination!

However, I would think that 1.0 to 1.5 $billion should do the job without too much difficulty.

Some 65 of the fantastic F1 were built on a production line basis, but Rocketdyne had to even have its own separate building just to house the final assembly lines for such a large engine. This also will not be cheap.

And the idea that because this is not a directly sponsored governmental project is going to somehow make it easy and cheap to accomplishes is just so much wistful thinking! Even such a rah rah type of person as Eon Musk himself has found that out through his experiences in this field. The dictates of the Laws of Physics make this particular industry the toughest and most technologically challenging in the history of mankind. And the safety and reliability needed (especially for Human space operations) are far above anything else ever even attempted by mankind.

However, I do have hope that all of the experience in this field will result eventually in a true Cheap Access To Space so that mankind can and will get out into the solar system in a reasonably short time frame.

Because, if we do not then the "doom and gloom" types will have been proven correct, and the great experiment (and whether you attribute that to God or pure chance does not matter in the final analysis) will have tragically failed!! :x :x

But I do have hope......

Have A Great Day Everybody! :D :D :D
 
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vulture4

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The RS-84 http://www.astronautix.com/engines/rs84.htm was designed in about 2002 before Bush canceled the RLV program. Unlike the Merlin 1 which minimized cost with a gas generator cycle and single-pintle injector, it appears to utilize a preburner cycle and showerhead injector plate, and a clever but complicated system of nozzle cooling using RP-1 with multiple manifolds to avoid heating the RP-1 to the coking point. The F-1 in contrast used a gas generator cycle with the gas generator exhaust used for film cooling of the nozzle extension. The big difference between the two designs is that the F-1 was use-once throw-away and the RS-84 was designed for 100 mission cycles, so if Musk is going after the RS-84 technology he must be plannoing some sort of approach to reusability, altough how isn't clear.
 
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Valcan

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vulture4":2n8sd0hp said:
The RS-84 http://www.astronautix.com/engines/rs84.htm was designed in about 2002 before Bush canceled the RLV program. Unlike the Merlin 1 which minimized cost with a gas generator cycle and single-pintle injector, it appears to utilize a preburner cycle and showerhead injector plate, and a clever but complicated system of nozzle cooling using RP-1 with multiple manifolds to avoid heating the RP-1 to the coking point. The F-1 in contrast used a gas generator cycle with the gas generator exhaust used for film cooling of the nozzle extension. The big difference between the two designs is that the F-1 was use-once throw-away and the RS-84 was designed for 100 mission cycles, so if Musk is going after the RS-84 technology he must be plannoing some sort of approach to reusability, altough how isn't clear.
Yes the engines i know are ment to be reusable. There just inst enough buisness right now to begin reusing them so he hasnt.
Not sure about the rest of the craft.
 
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scottb50

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Valcan":2rkytohj said:
Not sure about the rest of the craft.
I would think you could take two Falcon nines, at least the engines, and a simple aero-shell, landing gear on a cradle, supporting the propellant tanks that are locked to each other. A completely re-usable TSTO vehicle, turbo-fan engines used both for takeoff and landing, manned or unmanned operation, return of the first stage for quick turnaround and relaunch. An RL-10, or equivalent upper stage, taking payloads to various orbits. Use two or four Falcon nines, for now, and two solid rockets, or not, on either configuration.

The First Stage would maneuver and land with turbofan engines and be ready for re-launch in hours. Fill the tanks and go, if needed.
 
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docm

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First let's understand that the pptx clearly states that the M2 will be based on the M1, which seems to exclude the RS-84 as a basis.

Also: Falcon 9 Heavy now has a cost, so I guess we can a manifest entry or several soon

http://www.spacex.com/falcon9_heavy.php

Pricing

SpaceX offers open and fixed pricing that is the same for all customers, including a best price guarantee. Modest discounts are available for contractually committed, multi-launch purchases.

Mission Type: Price*
Single payload mission $95M

*Standard launch services pricing valid through 9/31/10, assumes standard services (see User Guide) and payment in full at contract signature. Price includes SpaceX-developed and produced payload adapter and tension-band separation system.
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Performance

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral AFS
Inclination: 28.5 degree
Mass to Low Earth Orbit (LEO): 32,000 kg (70,548 lb)
Mass to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO): 19,500 kg (42,990 lb)
 
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stevekk

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Valcan":uzyn7mso said:
vulture4":uzyn7mso said:
The RS-84 http://www.astronautix.com/engines/rs84.htm was designed in about 2002 before Bush canceled the RLV program. Unlike the Merlin 1 which minimized cost with a gas generator cycle and single-pintle injector, it appears to utilize a preburner cycle and showerhead injector plate, and a clever but complicated system of nozzle cooling using RP-1 with multiple manifolds to avoid heating the RP-1 to the coking point. The F-1 in contrast used a gas generator cycle with the gas generator exhaust used for film cooling of the nozzle extension. The big difference between the two designs is that the F-1 was use-once throw-away and the RS-84 was designed for 100 mission cycles, so if Musk is going after the RS-84 technology he must be plannoing some sort of approach to reusability, altough how isn't clear.
Yes the engines i know are ment to be reusable. There just inst enough buisness right now to begin reusing them so he hasnt.
Not sure about the rest of the craft.
SpaceX has 6 Falcon 9 flights on it's 2011 manifest, plus another 5 flights in 2012. Assuming they don't reuse any of these engine, that's 99 Merlin engines that need to be built. Add in a couple more for the Falcon 1e flights.

I assume SpaceX can keep building these engines in volume, but there is already plenty of volume to start thinking about how much it costs to recover, refurbish, and re-qualify these things. Unless of course, the Merlin 1 is just a stopgap until the Merlin 2 is ready, but even Musk must know that the Merlin 2 won't be ready for several years. Those Iridium launches have to use the current 9 engine Merlin 1 configuration.
 
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docm

Guest
I would imagine that an east cost engine facility could be in the offing, with Hawthorne feeding Kwajalein and Vandenberg and the new one feeding the Cape and possibly Wallops. Also, an east cost stage fab just has to happen if they're going to go with 6 and 10 meter units for Falcon X and Falcon XX.

Testing those M2's would have to happen at Stennis (A-1?). Otherwise they'd be bouncing babies out of their cribs from McGregor to Austin if another thermal inversion happened during a test :p

Speaking of noise: how about calling the Falcon X and XX by a new name commensurate with their power? I propose Thunderbird or one of the Native American forms for the legendary giant raptor that was the servant of the Great Spirit. Lord knows, a cluster of M2's going off would certainly satisfy the "Thunder-" part of the name.
 
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stevekk

Guest
docm":ilpk03zt said:
I would imagine that an east cost engine facility could be in the offing, with Hawthorne feeding Kwajalein and Vandenberg and the new one feeding the Cape and possibly Wallops. Also, an east cost stage fab just has to happen if they're going to go with 6 and 10 meter units for Falcon X and Falcon XX.

Testing those M2's would have to happen at Stennis (A-1?). Otherwise they'd be bouncing babies out of their cribs from McGregor to Austin if another thermal inversion happened during a test :p

Speaking of noise: how about calling the Falcon X and XX by a new name commensurate with their power? I propose Thunderbird or one of the Native American forms for the legendary giant raptor that was the servant of the Great Spirit. Lord knows, a cluster of M2's going off would certainly satisfy the "Thunder-" part of the name.
Would a single M2 be that much louder than a cluster of 9 M1's ? It would certainly be loud if they tested the Heavy configuration ( 3 M2s ? ), but they don't even fire all 3 SSMEs at the same time during testing, do they ?
 
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docm

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An M2 would deliver just shy of the thrust generated by the F1 engine from the Saturn V (1.2 Mlbf vs. 1.5 Mlbf), and IIRC that is more than McGregor's stand can handle. They are significantly expanding McGregor, but it's unclear if this expansion will be a vacuum stand for second (and third?) stages like A-3 at Stennis, an M2 stand or both. If they do build an M2 stand there it would have to be almost a twin of A-1 at Stennis.

At first it may be better to just rent Stennis to test the M2'S; it's close to the Cape and so remote, especially since neighbors of McGregor were already complaining about the F9 stage firings.
 
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stevekk

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docm":agenfkuo said:
An M2 would deliver just shy of the thrust generated by the F1 engine from the Saturn V (1.2 Mlbf vs. 1.5 Mlbf), and IIRC that is more than McGregor's stand can handle. They are significantly expanding McGregor, but it's unclear if this expansion will be a vacuum stand for second (and third?) stages like A-3 at Stennis, an M2 stand or both. If they do build an M2 stand there it would have to be almost a twin of A-1 at Stennis.

At first it may be better to just rent Stennis to test the M2'S; it's close to the Cape and so remote, especially since neighbors of McGregor were already complaining about the F9 stage firings.
What happens to McGregor TX if SpaceX decides to find another patch of land in the middle of nowhere to use for engine testing ? My impression is that Musk wants to keep engine production and testing in-house. Are there ever resource / schedule conflicts for the test stands at Stennis ?
 
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docm

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Stennis has two large test stands that could handle M2: A1 can handle up to 1.7 Mlbf and B1/B2 (two positions) can handle clusters up to 11 Mlbf. The former seems to have an open dance card at the moment. The latter is used for Delta IV Heavy, but that isn't a very full card either in spite of 2 being on pads now @ Vandenberg and the Cape with recon satellites.
 
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docm

Guest
Now for something from the business side...

Iridium has secured more than half the funding they'll need to put up their new satellites. Falcon 9 is slated to do a lot of the launches.

Space News.....

Iridium Secures $1.8 Billion in Loan Commitments

PONTE VEDRA, Fla — Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications on Aug. 4 announced it had secured bank commitments totaling more than $1.8 billion to finance the company’s second-generation system of 72 in-orbit satellites and nine ground spares.

The funding, which will be part of a credit facility that has the tentative backing of France’s export-credit agency, Coface, will carry an interest rate of less than 6 percent, most of which will be on fixed-rate terms, with repayment starting in 2017 and continuing through 2024.
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job1207

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Musk has said that McGregor is too close to the windows of its neighbors to host the larger rocket engine.
 
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neutrino78x

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So, any more details on when the first COTS demonstration launch is for SpaceX? Their web site just says 2010.

--Brian
 
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docm

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SpaceFlightNow....

Late September Falcon 9 • Dragon C1
Launch window: TBD
Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the first active Dragon spacecraft, called Dragon C1. The mission will demonstrate the capabilities of the Dragon in a four-and-a-half hour test flight named COTS 1. The company is building the Dragon to fly on resupply missions to the International Space Station. Delayed from 2nd Quarter. Delayed from July 21, August and Sept. 9. [July 26]
 
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docm

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AvWeek Dragon updates -

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Checkout and integration is expected to be a thorough process as the Dragon “is an extremely sophisticated spaceship,” Musk says. “So over the next few months we will be doing a lot of prelaunch checkout, and as it’s the first time we will have done this, we’re being super careful.”

The operational Dragon is equipped with 18 SpaceX-developed Draco thrusters, each rated at around 100-lb. thrust. “These are capable of firing continuously or in short pulses,” Musk says, adding they will be tested to check maneuverability control functions in orbit as well as during descent.

The flight also will test the Dragon’s avionics, flight computers, guidance, navigation and control systems, back shell heat shield, re-entry and recovery systems. The Dragon vehicle is due to be recovered with a splashdown in the Pacific test range close to the Southern California coast after three orbits. “In the long term we intend to land back on land,” Musk says. “For the moment we are landing in the ocean because it is far too difficult to get FAA permission to land on land.” For land recovery, SpaceX is devising a Dragon configuration with four landing legs with shock absorbers or crushable cartridges.

SpaceX hopes to complete the checkout process by the end of September. “We’re looking at six to eight weeks,” Musk says, adding the launch window target could be from late September to early October.

A second operational Dragon is currently penciled in for a February 2011 launch, and will maneuver within six miles of the ISS, while a provisional third test will see the Dragon actually berth with the station. The California-based company has a $1.6 billion contract to fly 12 missions to the space station through 2016.
 
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