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Thread: SpaceX

  1. #4021
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    Summary,

    SN-09 is on Pad B

    SN-10 on Pad A "Coming soon" (top tweet)

    Starship SN's 11-17 and Super Heavy booster BN-1 are being built

    A Super Heavy booster hop should happen in "A few months" (bottom tweet)

    SpaceX wants an environmental assessment change allowing them to build 2 Super Heavy pads, 2 integration/launch towers, and 2 landing pads. FAA residents comment period ends January 22, 2021.

    Stock up on your popcorn 🍿🍿🍿🍿

    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1342059900550131714
    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1342062363105759232

  2. #4022
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    There was no clearer set of contrasts between how SpaceX and NASA approach launch vehicle development than the dueling tests the two performed in early December of Starship and Space Launch System, respectively. SpaceX’s approach is the literal manifestation of the Silicon Valley philosophy to “move fast and break things,” in this case Starship prototypes. The SN8 prototype that met its demise was the latest in a long line of test articles, and hardly the first to have exploded, burst or crumpled. NASA’s approach to testing SLS has been far more cautious. While SN8 was simply a prototype never intended to fly to space, the core stage at Stennis is flight hardware that NASA will use for the Artemis 1 mission in late 2021. In a call with reporters, NASA managers emphasized they were being deliberate and cautious during the ongoing Green Run test campaign, not wanting to take any risks with the hardware.

    https://spacenews.com/foust-forward-...icle-programs/
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  3. #4023
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    That Space News article by Jeff Foust is a good one.

  4. #4024
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    SN-15 is said to be getting major upgrades, and may be the first of the orbit-capable Starships.

    IMG_20201227_014652.jpg

    https://twitter.com/brendan2908/stat...67357006729216

  5. #4025
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    Quote Originally Posted by docmordrid View Post
    SN-15 is said to be getting major upgrades, and may be the first of the orbit-capable Starships.

    IMG_20201227_014652.jpg

    https://twitter.com/brendan2908/stat...67357006729216
    Looking at that image and seeing the relative progress I'm wondering if SN13 ands SN14 might be skipped if they get a successful landing with SN09 or SN10?

  6. #4026
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    We've seen previous SN that were only a tank section, presumably after a significant redesign.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  7. #4027
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Looking at that image and seeing the relative progress I'm wondering if SN13 ands SN14 might be skipped if they get a successful landing with SN09 or SN10?
    With the current legs, I don't think they're actually all that interested in landings. It's something they know they'll get to work, and they'll probably start getting serious about landing gear as the prototypes start getting significantly more complete and higher-value, with TPS tiles, functioning cargo doors, and so on. For now, I think they'll be aggressively expanding the flight envelope, and anticipating losing some in supersonic flight or early reentry tests.

  8. #4028
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    SN-09

    Likely cryoproof test today. Roads closed, etc. Could fly next week.

    https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/...71682603245568

  9. #4029
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    With the current legs, I don't think they're actually all that interested in landings. It's something they know they'll get to work, and they'll probably start getting serious about landing gear as the prototypes start getting significantly more complete and higher-value, with TPS tiles, functioning cargo doors, and so on. For now, I think they'll be aggressively expanding the flight envelope, and anticipating losing some in supersonic flight or early reentry tests.
    If those Raptors really are as cheap as they say, landing would not yet be overly relevant. For Old Space prices, writing off 3 engines is a major cost.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  10. #4030
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    Nothing as complex as those engines look can properly be described as "cheap"!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  11. #4031
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Nothing as complex as those engines look can properly be described as "cheap"!
    <$1M/engine is pretty cheap for aerospace. They could easily spend $3M in engineering time trying to put better legs on vehicles that have a good chance of getting destroyed before they could even deploy them.

  12. #4032
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Nothing as complex as those engines look can properly be described as "cheap"!
    Cheap is a relative term. If you can afford it, it's cheap.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  13. #4033
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Nothing as complex as those engines look can properly be described as "cheap"!
    They are far cheaper than SLS engines. Those go for a $146 million each, meaning it will cost more than half a billion per launch just for these engines, which will promptly be thrown away. I like to imagine the scene of an engineer going to Musk and saying “We have a great engine, but it costs about $150 million, and it is built to be reusable but we plan to always throw it away.” SpaceX couldn’t have afforded testing like they do if Raptors cost that much.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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  14. #4034
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    They are far cheaper than SLS engines. Those go for a $146 million each, meaning it will cost more than half a billion per launch just for these engines, which will promptly be thrown away. I like to imagine the scene of an engineer going to Musk and saying “We have a great engine, but it costs about $150 million, and it is built to be reusable but we plan to always throw it away.” SpaceX couldn’t have afforded testing like they do if Raptors cost that much.
    I suspect there are R & D and storage charges associated with that 146 M. It is a government run project. The program "benefitted" from having an inventory of RS-25s after the shuttle was retired. So NASA was strapped with a rocket design developed after Congress wanted those engines used.

  15. #4035
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    SN-09

    Cryotest today, and thruster tests (watch the video). Static fire next, perhaps launch next week.

    https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/...48011731759105

  16. #4036
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    Quote Originally Posted by bknight View Post
    I suspect there are R & D and storage charges associated with that 146 M. It is a government run project. The program "benefitted" from having an inventory of RS-25s after the shuttle was retired. So NASA was strapped with a rocket design developed after Congress wanted those engines used.
    New and "cost reduced" RS-25E engines are $100M each, based on a contract extension increasing the number ordered by 18 for an additional $1.8 B. These engines were designed decades ago, there's no significant R&D involved...certainly nothing remotely comparable to developing Raptor.

  17. #4037
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    SN-10's nose cone is in the High Bay for stacking, and SN-11's*segments are in the Mid Bay for stacking. Why do I get the feeling their flight rate will be accelerating?

    https://youtu.be/Ozj1RjlKW0k

  18. #4038
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    New and "cost reduced" RS-25E engines are $100M each, based on a contract extension increasing the number ordered by 18 for an additional $1.8 B. These engines were designed decades ago, there's no significant R&D involved...certainly nothing remotely comparable to developing Raptor.
    Are you on Aerojet Rocketdyne and know what the bean counters know? Yes the cost is $100 M. But have you ever worked on a federal government contract project? Why do you not expect a $100 hammer? The press always reports on pork and it is with this project also.
    Maybe you are correct that there will be R&D, maybe you are wrong. If this project were not covered by a government project, I suspect the cost would be significantly lower.
    BTW the article quoted
    The NASA news release says that Aerojet has "implemented a plan to reduce the cost of the engines by as much as 30 percent," noting the use of more advanced manufacturing techniques. These "savings," however, are difficult to square with reality.
    . Again a pork project that probably should be cancelled, but that is an executive/legislative decision.

  19. #4039
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    Bnight, this just started as an offhand comment about Raptor engines being cheap. I was comparing them to the SLS rocket engine cost (somewhat similar large potentially reusable engines) to show they are indeed cheap. Of course we know SLS is a government program, but that is still a huge difference, and comparing a new engine (Raptor) to an old and well understood one (SLS).

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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  20. #4040
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    Government program overhead is one thing, a factor 100 a whole different thing.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  21. #4041
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Bnight, this just started as an offhand comment about Raptor engines being cheap. I was comparing them to the SLS rocket engine cost (somewhat similar large potentially reusable engines) ...
    The first 4 launches of SLS will use 16 of the very much reusable SSME/RS-25 engines left over from the Shuttle program, but in expendable mode.

    IMO, throwing away history.

    After that SLS will be using an expendable version of RS-25, developed at an award cost of (hold your hat) $1.16 billion a few years ago. The total program cost of these RS-25 engine orders is eye-watering.

    https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocket...ontract-costs/

    (May 7, 2020)

    >
    Many in space community noted that the contract implied a price of almost $100 million per engine. When including a 2015 contract to restart engine production and produce six engines, NASA is spending nearly $3.5 billion for 24 engines, or about $145 million per engine. Some contrasted that with documents that claimed a price of $40 million for a Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME).
    >

  22. #4042
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    Quote Originally Posted by docmordrid View Post
    The first 4 launches of SLS will use 16 of the very much reusable SSME/RS-25 engines left over from the Shuttle program, but in expendable mode.

    IMO, throwing away history.

    After that SLS will be using an expendable version of RS-25, developed at an award cost of (hold your hat) $1.16 billion a few years ago. The total program cost of these RS-25 engine orders is eye-watering.

    https://spacenews.com/aerojet-rocket...ontract-costs/

    (May 7, 2020)
    My $100M estimate was based on the extension of that contract, and gives something closer to a per-engine cost without the production restart costs (and obviously without R&D and "storage").

    Not understanding bknight's "it's a government program" objection. These aren't toilet seats where the value of the item is so small that any amount of bureaucratic overhead is going to dwarf the inherent cost. The Raptor is a million-dollar chunk of precision machinery, the RS-25E costs two decimal orders of magnitude more. That's not $1M of engine and $99M of overhead. And even if it was, since when was that any kind of excuse or justification?

  23. #4043
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    Couple of random speculations:

    I keep noticing that the SN8 nosecone is still sitting on the landing pad. Why? Clearly SN9 isn't going to fly, or at least land, until it's out of the way. Is there a hazmat problem?

    Also, during the cryo test video I just watched they were firing off the cold-gas thrusters. Might they have used the same gas supply for thrusters and pressurizing the fuel header tank; and run low on it?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  24. #4044
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Couple of random speculations:

    I keep noticing that the SN8 nosecone is still sitting on the landing pad. Why? Clearly SN9 isn't going to fly, or at least land, until it's out of the way. Is there a hazmat problem?
    Optics; pushing forward in the shadow of a boomski.

    Also, during the cryo test video I just watched they were firing off the cold-gas thrusters. Might they have used the same gas supply for thrusters and pressurizing the fuel header tank; and run low on it?
    Starship/Super Heavy pressurization is autogenous; gassified propellant from heat exchangers in the engines is piped to the tanks. In this case it sounds like there wasn't enough gassified CH4, perhaps because the short landing burn couldn't generate enough. SN-09 etc. will use helium pressurization until it's sorted out

  25. #4045
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Couple of random speculations:

    I keep noticing that the SN8 nosecone is still sitting on the landing pad. Why? Clearly SN9 isn't going to fly, or at least land, until it's out of the way. Is there a hazmat problem?

    Also, during the cryo test video I just watched they were firing off the cold-gas thrusters. Might they have used the same gas supply for thrusters and pressurizing the fuel header tank; and run low on it?
    Musk has mentioned wanting to preserve the nose cone, and it's a little more complicated to move intact. I doubt they're going to delay testing for it though, and it's not going to take more than a couple hours to remove if they give up on preserving it. Either way, it's at least more interesting to show visitors than a concrete pad with some scratch marks.

    I doubt they used methane for the thrusters. Probably a separate set of nitrogen tanks. A long-term plan is gaseous methox thrusters, but they don't have those yet and it makes sense to keep the pressurization system as simple and independent as possible right now so they can do things like reverting to helium, as they're doing for SN9.

  26. 2020-Dec-31, 09:46 PM
    Reason
    missed quote

  27. #4046
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I keep noticing that the SN8 nosecone is still sitting on the landing pad. Why? Clearly SN9 isn't going to fly, or at least land, until it's out of the way. Is there a hazmat problem?
    Maybe Elon is having flights of wild imagination:

    https://i.insider.com/5fd3d27f9cf142...jpeg&auto=webp

    https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/fo...20161109193421

  28. #4047
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Maybe Elon is having flights of wild imagination:

    https://i.insider.com/5fd3d27f9cf142...jpeg&auto=webp
    Just hammer the thing back out and use it again!
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  29. #4048
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    New year's eve epiphany (and there was no alcohol involved whatsoever):

    Imagine you want to send a stuffed turkey to the ISS. You have three choices:
    -an absolutely free launch using free propellant and a free expendable launcher, the only thing is "bring your own SSME". And a stuffed turkey.
    -A full price Falcon 9 Cargo Dragon containing 1 stuffed turkey and an SSME. You're not going to do anything with the SSME, just bubble wrap it, take it to space and bring it back.
    -A full price Falcon Heavy Cargo Dragon, same as above. You don't need Heavy for this mission, but two extra boosters are like fireworks which seems fitting.

    Either of the lower two options are cheaper than the first one. You read that right. If you pay full price for a rocket that has two side boosters that you don't need for this mission at all, to take a massive rocket engine into space and back down again without using it at all, it is still cheaper than if you would get a free expendable rocket and launch and you just pay for the engine.

    Now of course, this is the real world. And in the real world, you don't go to space on a single SSME but on four of them... So happy new year SpaceX, I wish you all the best with Starship!
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  30. #4049
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    So it appears that Elon Musk has decided Super Heavy setting down on landing legs is too prosaic and he wants to have a mechanism that catches the grid fins. Scott Manley explains:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEAyjtIIccY

  31. #4050
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    "The best part is no part..."
    ~~ Elon Musk

    SN-10 gets her nose cone

    https://twitter.com/bocachicagal/sta...28410013769729

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