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#26 2018-06-15 15:15:43

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,231
Website

Re: Exploring Mars

Louis,  why don't you read what I actually said?  What I said was "Using the wild guess (and wild guess it is) of $200M per launch".  What part of "wild guess" do you not understand?

As for $20M per launch,  I'll believe it when I actually see it.  I haven't seen it yet.  Why?  it hasn't yet been built,  much less flown.  At this stage of the game,  any cost numbers from any source (including Spacex) are still inherently vapid bullshit at best,  and that's actually the nicest way I can state that!

But I have curve-fit real launch cost data for a variety of commercial launchers,  and BFR/BFS should fall somewhere nearer $100-200M per launch in its initial incarnations,  maybe lower with experience and design revisions.  It remains to be seen whether the dreamed-of reusability actually happens and lowers that cost.  Might happen,  or it might not. 

Point is,  my educated wild guess is better than any of the wild speculations you keep getting off of internet blog sites,  and believing because you want to believe numbers like those.  I do NOT believe them,  nor do I believe Spacex's hype!  Not yet,  anyway. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#27 2018-06-15 15:42:07

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Exploring Mars

Well we'll see.  But I think we need to distinguish between with profit charge and cost. There is no reason for Space X to add a profit element to launches serving its ultimate goal of reaching Mars.  It is suggested that the profit element adds 40% to the charge.

BFR development costs will be spread across a lot of different functions as previously discussed. This is quite different from basic satellite launch systems.  If the BFR was simply a Mars transfer vehicle, Space X would have to cover ALL the development costs through its Mars mission budget.


GW Johnson wrote:

Louis,  why don't you read what I actually said?  What I said was "Using the wild guess (and wild guess it is) of $200M per launch".  What part of "wild guess" do you not understand?

As for $20M per launch,  I'll believe it when I actually see it.  I haven't seen it yet.  Why?  it hasn't yet been built,  much less flown.  At this stage of the game,  any cost numbers from any source (including Spacex) are still inherently vapid bullshit at best,  and that's actually the nicest way I can state that!

But I have curve-fit real launch cost data for a variety of commercial launchers,  and BFR/BFS should fall somewhere nearer $100-200M per launch in its initial incarnations,  maybe lower with experience and design revisions.  It remains to be seen whether the dreamed-of reusability actually happens and lowers that cost.  Might happen,  or it might not. 

Point is,  my educated wild guess is better than any of the wild speculations you keep getting off of internet blog sites,  and believing because you want to believe numbers like those.  I do NOT believe them,  nor do I believe Spacex's hype!  Not yet,  anyway. 

GW


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#28 2018-06-18 08:56:07

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,231
Website

Re: Exploring Mars

Most commercial entities charge a price that is around 2-3 times their costs.  But on a "wild guess",  what difference does a factor of 2 or 3 make?  None,  really. 

As I said,  we will see what the prices will be that Spacex charges customers when the BFR/BFS gets done with flight testing and starts flying "for real".  It was like that with Falcon-9,  and Falcon-1 before it.  It is going to be like that with Falcon-Heavy,  too.  The prices I used for my estimates are Spacex prices to customers as posted on their website,  not costs to them.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#29 2018-06-18 09:13:20

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,113

Re: Exploring Mars

GW,

The cost differential is the difference between space flight being attainable, and therefore of interest to the public, within our lifetimes and just another government sponsored flags and footprints exploration mission.  Few people are interested in space at present because for all intents and purposes nobody who is not opulently wealthy can ever afford to go to space.  So yeah, cost matters.

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#30 2018-06-18 10:46:56

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,231
Website

Re: Exploring Mars

Cost matters?  Of course it does!  I quite agree.  But,  progress has been made,  and not by the government,  although the government has been a major customer. 

Early vehicles were about as expensive as the space shuttle.  To ISS,  shuttle could deliver as much as 15 metric tons.  Late in the program,  each of those shttle launches was a not-for-profit $1.5B.  That's $100M per delivered metric ton.

Falcon-9 flown expendably has a for-profit cost (to the customer,  so it's a price,  not a cost,  to Spacex) to LEO of $62M,  capable of delivering 22.8 metric tons.  That's $2.7M per delivered metric ton.  As block 5 changes get implemented,  that unit price may go down some.

I've looked at numbers for Ariane 5,  Atlas-5 552,  Soyuz,  and many others,  and within about a factor of 2 or so,  they are similar to what Falcon-9 prices.

Falcon-Heavy has a strawman list price of $90M to deliver 63.8 metric tons to LEO.  It's a bit early to bank on that,  given that only 1 flight has been made so far.  But it's $1.4M per delivered metric ton.

In contrast,  SLS Block 1 is projected as delivering 70 metric tons to LEO,  with NASA itself now estimating $1-1.5B per launch as the not-for-profit price.  Call it a billion.  That's $14M per delivered metric ton,  and that's going the wrong way. 

NASA is infamous regarding the reliability of its cost estimates.  Its critics contend we ought to at least double their figures.  That's closer to 2,  maybe $3B per launch,  when it finally does fly.  Call it 2.  That's almost $30M per delivered metric ton.  Same basic story,  just worse.

I have a curve fit posted at "exrocketman" for competitive launchers,  non-competitive launchers,  and spaceplanes as represented by the shuttle.  BFR/BFS is supposed to be a commercially-competitive launcher to LEO.  Supposedly it can ship 150 metric tons to LEO.  The competitive-launcher curve fit extrapolated outside its database (!!!) to 150 tons says the fully-loaded unit price ought to be $0.075M per delivered metric ton.  At 150 tons delivered flying fully loaded,  that says the launch price for a BFR/BFS ought to be in the vicinity of $11-12M.  I don't really believe THAT,  but it should be well under $100M,  anyway.  Certainly under $200M.

I would hope that Bezo's New Armstrong giant rocket will follow the reusability and affordable price trends that Spacex has been so good at.  And more-or-less matched (within a factor of 2 or so) by their competition. 

Somewhere near or under $1M/delivered metric ton to LEO.  That's $400-$500/delivered pound.  Does that sound cheap enough to entice you?  Maybe a little bit? 

It's coming from competitive industry,  not the government,  and not the "old space" monopoly that ULA used to be.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2018-06-18 11:08:37)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#31 2018-06-18 12:35:22

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,113

Re: Exploring Mars

GW,

I guess it'll be within the realm of feasibility for NASA, which is still better than what existed before.  The public will quit paying attention after the second or third mission.  It's no longer "new" and there's no way in hell they could ever go, but money is still money.  Maybe next century.

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#32 2018-06-18 18:24:26

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Exploring Mars

Nope. The standard add on is around 5%.  You might be thinking of materials costs. But most companies add around 5% to their full costs (which includes all their central admin of course). If companies earned 50-66% profit no one would invest in anything other than shares! lol

GW Johnson wrote:

Most commercial entities charge a price that is around 2-3 times their costs. 

GW

Last edited by louis (2018-06-18 18:24:56)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#33 2018-06-18 18:34:13

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 3,939

Re: Exploring Mars

Trust me or at least trust what Musk says...FH9 is irrelevant beyond the next 2 years and will just get phased out. It was a magnificent folly but it is not the future of spaceflight. Ironically it kind of replicated the Space Shuttle nonsense. On paper a space plane sounds like good sense...until you try and build one...likewise strapping together three smaller rockets to make a big one sounds like good sense...until you try and build one...  The story has yet to be told, but reading between the lines, I think the FH9 almost killed Space X.

Thankfully though, Space X have finally hit on the right formula - a big rocket that serves potentially 7 or so separate purposes and is completely reusable. The BFR is really like the 747  in terms of how it will revolutionise space transport. 

We're going to see 10 BFR flights, then 20, 50, 100, 500 and  - if E2E happens - then 5000 per annum. This is going to revolutionise the economics of space travel and of course greatly facilitate Mars colonisation. Space X will in effect be able to subsidise Mars flights.



GW Johnson wrote:

Cost matters?  Of course it does!  I quite agree.  But,  progress has been made,  and not by the government,  although the government has been a major customer. 

Early vehicles were about as expensive as the space shuttle.  To ISS,  shuttle could deliver as much as 15 metric tons.  Late in the program,  each of those shttle launches was a not-for-profit $1.5B.  That's $100M per delivered metric ton.

Falcon-9 flown expendably has a for-profit cost (to the customer,  so it's a price,  not a cost,  to Spacex) to LEO of $62M,  capable of delivering 22.8 metric tons.  That's $2.7M per delivered metric ton.  As block 5 changes get implemented,  that unit price may go down some.

I've looked at numbers for Ariane 5,  Atlas-5 552,  Soyuz,  and many others,  and within about a factor of 2 or so,  they are similar to what Falcon-9 prices.

Falcon-Heavy has a strawman list price of $90M to deliver 63.8 metric tons to LEO.  It's a bit early to bank on that,  given that only 1 flight has been made so far.  But it's $1.4M per delivered metric ton.

In contrast,  SLS Block 1 is projected as delivering 70 metric tons to LEO,  with NASA itself now estimating $1-1.5B per launch as the not-for-profit price.  Call it a billion.  That's $14M per delivered metric ton,  and that's going the wrong way. 

NASA is infamous regarding the reliability of its cost estimates.  Its critics contend we ought to at least double their figures.  That's closer to 2,  maybe $3B per launch,  when it finally does fly.  Call it 2.  That's almost $30M per delivered metric ton.  Same basic story,  just worse.

I have a curve fit posted at "exrocketman" for competitive launchers,  non-competitive launchers,  and spaceplanes as represented by the shuttle.  BFR/BFS is supposed to be a commercially-competitive launcher to LEO.  Supposedly it can ship 150 metric tons to LEO.  The competitive-launcher curve fit extrapolated outside its database (!!!) to 150 tons says the fully-loaded unit price ought to be $0.075M per delivered metric ton.  At 150 tons delivered flying fully loaded,  that says the launch price for a BFR/BFS ought to be in the vicinity of $11-12M.  I don't really believe THAT,  but it should be well under $100M,  anyway.  Certainly under $200M.

I would hope that Bezo's New Armstrong giant rocket will follow the reusability and affordable price trends that Spacex has been so good at.  And more-or-less matched (within a factor of 2 or so) by their competition. 

Somewhere near or under $1M/delivered metric ton to LEO.  That's $400-$500/delivered pound.  Does that sound cheap enough to entice you?  Maybe a little bit? 

It's coming from competitive industry,  not the government,  and not the "old space" monopoly that ULA used to be.

GW


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#34 2018-06-19 07:32:20

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,113

Re: Exploring Mars

Louis,

Mr. Musk says a lot of things.  That doesn't make them gospel.  He thought we'd have self-driving cars perfected a year ago.  Apart from more testing, it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon.  He thought Falcon Heavy would be easy to build and six years behind schedule, it finally flew.  I'm just going to take a wild guess and say that building a fully reusable rocket that's economical to operate won't be as easy as anyone thinks it will be, either.  It may even take a little longer than he thinks it will.  It always does.

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#35 2018-06-19 17:26:37

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 13,056

Re: Exploring Mars

The Space x did with FH9 what was minimally done by the Boeing Delat IV but what also considered by Lockheed and never did with its paper design using the atlas V core design that is going to be not more as well.
The FH9 being stopped before we have a replacement that runs is silly just as what nasa did with termination of the shuttle.
The falcon 9 has limited tonnage capability and can only be use in LEO activity to which would gain other platforms of business oportunities that can be created by either vehicle long before BFR makes trips to the moon or mars.

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#36 2018-06-20 06:04:33

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,113

Re: Exploring Mars

SpaceNut,

I'm proud of the monumental achievements of SpaceX.  I'm being a realist about what SpaceX's and NASA's true capabilities are.  Gwynne Shotwell has said F9 and F9H will be around for years to come, until everyone is satisfied with BFR/BFS.  That's just common business sense.

I'm also pleased with the IVF work ULA is doing to improve in-space power and propulsion, most of which is being done on their dime, as it should be.  Any business in a competitive industry should constantly be seeking an edge over their competitors by improving and expanding upon their capabilities.

Aerojet-Rocketdyne / Blue Origin / SpaceX, as always, are delivering on advanced cryogenic and electric engine technology, mostly on schedule and within budget.  We've come a long way since the golden age of space travel, yet we've still a lot of work to do.

Contrary to Dr. Z's opinion and rather than thumbing their noses at each others' efforts, SpaceX / Blue Origin / ULA / NASA really should have weekly meetings in the cafeteria at KSC to simply move the ball down the field, irrespective of what the government is doing.

SpaceX and Blue Origin have the best reusable boosters and engines, but upper stage performance is lackluster with LOX/RP1 and LOX/LCH4.  NASA should ask for a RL-10 or MB-60 powered upper stage for F9 / F9H and New Glenn to get more delivered tonnage out of the rockets we have.  RL-10 is already man-rated.

Between advanced reusable booster technology from SpaceX and Blue Origin and advanced upper stage technology with IVF from ULA, lots of things are possible between now and when we're finally ready to return to the moon and go to Mars.

* let the technology providers determine how to service the requirements, rather than Congress
* jettison the solid rockets and their attendant problems from the development program
* standardize 10m booster diameter for shorter stacks and pad compatibility
* standardize composite tanks for LOX/LCH4 from Boeing (ULA) or Marine Composites (SpaceX)
* replace the Al2219 SLS core stage with a composite core stage from SpaceX or Blue Origin reusable LOX/LCH4 boosters
* replace BFS Raptor propulsion with RS-25 propulsion to transform BFS into the Space Shuttle that was promised, but never delivered
* use HIAD to return RS-25's to Earth for reuse for expendable BFS upper stage tanks for 250t+ to LEO

The booster would be Saturn V on steroids and BFS would be Space Shuttle on steroids.  The expendable upper stage with engine recovery would permit truly massive payloads to be delivered to LEO, like a fully loaded LOX/LH2 orbital propellant depot.  IVF for upper stages and propellant depots would end all the incessant messing around with storable chemical propellants, solar panels, and batteries.  The use of composites would substantially improve the dry mass of all stages and a robot can construct the tanks in about a month or so instead of the multiple months required for friction stir welding of 2219.

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#37 2018-06-20 18:08:47

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 13,056

Re: Exploring Mars

That is the engine of choice in the SLS the current upper stage will start with 1 but under the block 2 it will have 4 engines.

Block 1 has a baseline LEO payload capacity of 95 metric tons (105 short tons)
Block 1B has a baseline LEO payload capacity of 105 metric tons (116 short tons)
Block 2 will have lift capacity of 130 metric tons (140 short tons)

There were so many things in the developement that were cast to the wayside in favor of other items.

Between engine redevelopement of the J2 into J2-s and J-2x, Rs68 to 68A and B, as well as tossing aside the liquid flyback boosters using from Aerojet, in partnership with Teledyne Brown, offered a booster powered by three AJ1E6 engines each 4,900 kN (1,100,000 lbf) thrust, advance solid boosters with a new casing from ATK which is now Northrup Grumman and finally from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Dynetics proposed a liquid-fueled booster named "Pyrios". Each booster would use two F-1B engines which together would deliver a maximum thrust of 16,000 kN (3,600,000 lbf) total....So much wasted cash for only paper or prototypes....

http://www.slsorionsuppliers.com/blog

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#38 2018-06-20 20:59:24

kbd512
Member
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,113

Re: Exploring Mars

SpaceNut,

I think the SpaceX and Blue Origin reusable booster technology is more appropriate than junking the most expensive reusable engines ever made on every flight.  At $72M per copy, one does not simply throw away four perfectly good RS-25's.  The engines must return to Earth for reuse.  I don't care how well funded NASA has become.  That kind of extravagance is why there are no payloads available that require SLS.

The giant Apollo capsule thing is equally puzzling.  The Russians could've supplied the capsule technology to return to Earth.  They still do.  It's not even required to get to the moon.  The lander was the key technology.  Nobody can actually land on anything but Earth.  The problem still exists... still.

If the BFR booster had the entire SLS core stage mounted on top of it with 4 RS-25's, then the entire upper stage, as is, with a 150t payload on top of the SLS core stage, would be a near exact mass match with BFS.  The only difference is that the gigantic LOX/LH2 upper stage provides more LEO performance.  It's 177t to 266t, probably 218t or thereabouts.  I've no idea how you'd assemble it in the VAB, but it'd be freaking awesome.  The rocket alone, no payload atop the SLS core stage, would be 402 feet high.  That's why the 10m stage diameter needs to be established.  Rockets need to be a little shorter and fatter and 10m is a nice round number.  The payload shroud could be 15m in diameter.

Send the crew there in a RL-10 powered purpose-built lander with IVF.  Use a direct return in a Soyuz capsule powered by storable propellants using AJ-10-190 / Space Shuttle OMS engines.  That reuses two technologies that are man-rated.  This constant reinventing the wheel nonsense is debilitating.  Build a fat stack to keep it short and use a gigantic payload shroud so less spacecraft origami artwork is required.

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#39 2018-06-20 22:07:36

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 13,056

Re: Exploring Mars

You are right we could do better with the rockets design as we have a model to follow that shows we can do reuseability for the first stage.
Nasa put in a lot of rework for the RS-25 in that all new control electronics were add and the engine it was redesigned to be throw away for the sls after the first few launches from the retire shuttle hardware.
I agree that the rocket for the moon will need to be a 3 stage rocket with lander much like the punch line has gone Saturn V on steriods for any redesign.

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