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Blue Origin Thread (merged)

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According to wiki, there were ~275 spaceflights and ~555 spacehumans.

18 humans died in 4 flights.

I.e. a posteriori when somebody sits down into a spacecraft, he/she plays a roulette with 1:70 chances to die.

Looks like kill one tourist during every second bus excursion.

 

 

Edited by kerbiloid

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22 hours ago, tater said:

Yeah, tourism would certainly be a game-changer, but the costs would have to be vastly cheaper. At 10M a launch, that's 1.43 M$ a seat on D2. I have no idea where the market becomes meaningful... they talk about a few hundred grand in propellant costs, plus you need to amortize the LV. How much would people pay to go to a Bigelow Hotel, including transportation? A couple hundred grand? More?

Yes and no. Certainly modern Soyuz is very safe, for example, they have not had a manned failure in a very long time (1971) (looks like 117 good flights in a row).

It's still going to be considerably more dangerous that air travel, however. That's why when I talk about possible space tourists, I was using Mt. Everest as an example. Climbing Everest, even being led up by Sherpas, carries a high risk (~10% death rate), but hundreds a year do it. Space tourism would be much less dangerous than that, but far more dangerous than most holidays. That's a partial reason why the cost needs to come down for many people to do it. Blowing millions on a chance of death is a harder sell than blowing thousands---actually, the sell is not different, but the pool of people you are selling to is larger, so you'll find more willing to accept that risk.

 

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11 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

- 10 minutes of animal fear (launch).
- 1 day of headache and vomit.
- 1-2 days of gazing at stars and tornados. And romantic starsets. 20 per day.
- A week of callisthenics in comfortless conditions, with limited water to have a shower. And books readng. Or gazing at stars and tornados.
- 20 minutes of animal fear (landing).

Don't forget the microgravity conditions.  That sounds like it would be my favorite part of a trip to a space hotel.

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While I agree that tourism by itself won't be the thing to start a huge revolution (a ticket price around 20 million just won't cut it for the masses), you can't argue the point that human spaceflight is an excellent use of "excess" upmass capability. Human spaceflight is very massive per se, and there are other avenues of human spaceflight.

A propellant depot architecture, for example, would gladly eat a lot of launches, allowing the high launch cadence that makes F9R really useful. It is not the thing that is pursued right now, but hey, a new administration is coming in on the US soon, and they often like shuffling things up.

Likewise, refueling their monster martian spaceship could eat a lot launches. Yeah, they are supposed to be using the BFR for that, but it is a possibility. OTOH, building that monster of a rocket will eat a lot of their manufacturing capability, so maybe the plan is to actually fly only a few F9's lots of times, and switch to building Raptors for BFRs and BFSs. Assuming he finds the money to fund those, of course!

More plausibly, "private" stations could end up being the province of corporations and countries not possessing spaceflight capabilities of their own, and then you could see the dramatic growth in "private spaceflight" that we are after. A couple of ISS-like stations could generate quite a bit of orbital traffic, what with assembly flights and logistics and so on. I don't actually see that one as likely either, but hey, maybe some rich middle east country actually buys a bigelow station or something.

Likewise, private flights to cislunar space could also require quite a chunk of upmass. Space Adventures may not have pulled off selling their tickets to make a roundtrip to the Moon (or gotten the permission to do it from the russkies), but I'd wager someone other than James Cameron would go if the price if it was a bit lower... and the F9H is just the perfect size to lob a Dragon on a sightseeing trip around the Moon. Maaaybe you can fill couple of flights a year, and that's six more cores used.

A few flights here, a few flights there, and you are actually pretty close to earlier statements of Elon Musk about 10 F9s and 10 F9Hs launched each year. That would be forty core uses each year (10 reuses/core on average, lowish, but I'm still very doubtful of F9H's core reuse), or in other words four new cores and twenty upper stages built each year, around 30 engines coming out of the plant. Seems legit at first glance.

 

Rune. But mostly, it's all a matter of checking out if the myth of "build it and they will come" actually comes true. I'm eager to find out!

Edited by Rune

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1 hour ago, tater said:

Yes and no. Certainly modern Soyuz is very safe, for example, they have not had a manned failure in a very long time (1971) (looks like 117 good flights in a row).

It also might depend on being in "astro/cosmonaut" shape.  I think the Soyuz has had plenty of fairly hard landings (or at least off course) and that some US astronauts have experienced such.

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42 minutes ago, Rune said:

While I agree that tourism by itself won't be the thing to start a huge revolution (a ticket price around 20 million just won't cut it for the masses), you can't argue the point that human spaceflight is an excellent use of "excess" upmass capability. Human spaceflight is very massive per se, and there are other avenues of human spaceflight.

A propellant depot architecture, for example, would gladly eat a lot of launches, allowing the high launch cadence that makes F9R really useful. It is not the thing that is pursued right now, but hey, a new administration is coming in on the US soon, and they often like shuffling things up.

Likewise, refueling their monster martian spaceship could eat a lot launches. Yeah, they are supposed to be using the BFR for that, but it is a possibility. OTOH, building that monster of a rocket will eat a lot of their manufacturing capability, so maybe the plan is to actually fly only a few F9's lots of times, and switch to building Raptors for BFRs and BFSs. Assuming he finds the money to fund those, of course!

More plausibly, "private" stations could end up being the province of corporations and countries not possessing spaceflight capabilities of their own, and then you could see the dramatic growth in "private spaceflight" that we are after. A couple of ISS-like stations could generate quite a bit of orbital traffic, what with assembly flights and logistics and so on. I don't actually see that one as likely either, but hey, maybe some rich middle east country actually buys a bigelow station or something.

Likewise, private flights to cislunar space could also require quite a chunk of upmass. Space Adventures may not have pulled off selling their tickets to make a roundtrip to the Moon (or gotten the permission to do it from the russkies), but I'd wager someone other than James Cameron would go if the price if it was a bit lower... and the F9H is just the perfect size to lob a Dragon on a sightseeing trip around the Moon. Maaaybe you can fill couple of flights a year, and that's six more cores used.

A few flights here, a few flights there, and you are actually pretty close to earlier statements of Elon Musk about 10 F9s and 10 F9Hs launched each year. That would be forty core uses each year (10 reuses/core on average, lowish, but I'm still very doubtful of F9H's core reuse), or in other words four new cores and twenty upper stages built each year, around 30 engines coming out of the plant. Seems legit at first glance.

 

Rune. But mostly, it's all a matter of checking out if the myth of "build it and they will come" actually comes true. I'm eager to find out!

I think the cost will come down considerably with denser launch systems, etc. you might be able to send someone to a site for say 1 million dollars, provided that there were large number of individuals packed in a fairly small space. I would be like riding a subway in a crowded city.

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12 hours ago, tater said:

Why do people climb Everest? That's vastly more uncomfortable.

You've answered your own question: because people climb Everest. They don't go there by bus.
With a space hostel this looks like they go by bus, they spend a fortnight in RV with closed windows watching the same screensaver. Then they go by bus to home. With 1:70 probability their bus falls from a cliff.

Yes, there is already a "hype queue" of people ready to buy a ticket. But yet none of them had his/her vacation in a space hostel IRL.

 

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The exact same thing could be said of most astronauts, they are really just passengers, too. You'd go for the experience. It makes a good story at cocktail parties... whatever.

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1 hour ago, tater said:

The exact same thing could be said of most astronauts, they are really just passengers, too. You'd go for the experience. It makes a good story at cocktail parties... whatever.

How many million dollars do the astronauts pay to fly?
How many astronauts are among people which can pay?

So, until the fair price of such trip exceeds price of a mountain trip...

Edited by kerbiloid

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14 hours ago, wumpus said:

It also might depend on being in "astro/cosmonaut" shape.  I think the Soyuz has had plenty of fairly hard landings (or at least off course) and that some US astronauts have experienced such.

Every soyuz landing is hard, by definition

4 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

How many million dollars do the astronauts pay to fly?
How many astronauts are among people which can pay?

So, until the fair price of such trip exceeds price of a mountain trip...

The astronauts actually get paid to fly

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4 minutes ago, Hcube said:

The astronauts actually get paid to fly

Exactly. While space tourists buy their problems for their own money.

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7 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

How many million dollars do the astronauts pay to fly?
How many astronauts are among people which can pay?

So, until the fair price of such trip exceeds price of a mountain trip...

Did you not read what I wrote? I said that to find a population of possible customers, the price had to be orders of magnitude cheaper. You are arguing with me by presenting my own statements.

I said:

Quote

Tourism would indeed be the sort of bottomless market that could use all the rockets you could make/launch (which is required for prices to drop), but the cost for that would have to be vastly lower. Orders of magnitude lower. 

I was saying the price would have to be on par with Everest to likely have a pool large enough to find people willing to take the risk. So not millions, but ~$50-75,000.

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I think that even if the price was similar to an Everest trek (~$50K) the amount of customers every year wouldn't be much higher (~1000). the general appeal is probably at a similar level. 

Even if you managed to sell twice as many tickets, that would only give you a total annual revenue of ~$100 million. For a week stay, you would need a hotel offering that can accomodate 40 tourists every week, and a launch infrastructure that can launch 40 people per week, plus supplies and commercial crew, for less than $2 million.

I really don't see how the tourism business case could ever close.

Edited by Nibb31

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8 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

I think that even if the price was similar to an Everest trek (~$50K) the amount of customers every year wouldn't be much higher (~1000). the general appeal is probably at a similar level. 

Even if you managed to sell twice as many tickets, that would only give you a total annual revenue of ~$100 million. For a week stay, you would need a hotel offering that can accomodate 40 tourists every week, and a launch infrastructure that can launch 40 people per week, plus supplies and commercial crew, for less than $2 million.

I really don't see how the tourism business case could ever close.

You're a "glass is half empty" kinda person, aren't you? :P

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11 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

You're a "glass is half empty" kinda person, aren't you? :P

Nope. Realistic.

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24 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

I think that even if the price was similar to an Everest trek (~$50K) the amount of customers every year wouldn't be much higher (~1000). the general appeal is probably at a similar level. 

Even if you managed to sell twice as many tickets, that would only give you a total annual revenue of ~$100 million. For a week stay, you would need a hotel offering that can accomodate 40 tourists every week, and a launch infrastructure that can launch 40 people per week, plus supplies and commercial crew, for less than $2 million.

I really don't see how the tourism business case could ever close.

I think as long as it is perceived as dangerous, then you are correct.

50k is nothing, really. 1st class long-haul is already almost half that, and if you're paying 18k for an airline ticket, you likely spend rather a lot once you are at your destination. The problem is as you say, that once the price is that low, then you need huge numbers to make money. Their pricing structure needs to be right at the edge of what attracts enough customers while still making profit.

Bottom line is that I don;t see reusability as changing things that much because there is no need for so many flights.

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Random thought. Why is it the ISS burn up thread is stickied and not this one?

Edited by Motokid600

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The ISS thread was one of the "Threads of the Month" for April.

In any case, this thread doesn't seem to need any help staying at the top of page one. :wink:

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On 4/20/2016 at 7:18 PM, Nibb31 said:

If they get to launch every week, they have 4 launch sites, so they can do 1 launch per month at each site. If they have a fleet of 4 stages, then they can take one month to process each stage. If they have 8 reusable stages, they can take 2 months, etc...  

So even if they launch every week, fast turnaround is not a major requirement.

Turnaround time matters for more than launch schedule because it reflects how much work it takes to refurbish the stage for flight. A reusable vehicle that takes a few days of work to relaunch will cost significantly less to launch than a vehicle that takes a month of work, whether you're launching as fast as you can or not.

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4 hours ago, Elukka said:

Turnaround time matters for more than launch schedule because it reflects how much work it takes to refurbish the stage for flight. A reusable vehicle that takes a few days of work to relaunch will cost significantly less to launch than a vehicle that takes a month of work, whether you're launching as fast as you can or not.

Lets be realistic.

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4 hours ago, Elukka said:

Turnaround time matters for more than launch schedule because it reflects how much work it takes to refurbish the stage for flight. A reusable vehicle that takes a few days of work to relaunch will cost significantly less to launch than a vehicle that takes a month of work, whether you're launching as fast as you can or not.

Not really. A tech team that works only a few days per month costs more that a team that is busy all month. That doesn't make turnaround a major requirement.

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4 hours ago, Elukka said:

Turnaround time matters for more than launch schedule because it reflects how much work it takes to refurbish the stage for flight. A reusable vehicle that takes a few days of work to relaunch will cost significantly less to launch than a vehicle that takes a month of work, whether you're launching as fast as you can or not.

Even if only takes two days but the launch is every month, most of your cost will be based in the month not in the two days (labour cost, buildings infrastructure etc)

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On 4/22/2016 at 9:23 AM, Nibb31 said:

Nope. Realistic.

Your "realism" really looks like pessimism, though.

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4 hours ago, Pipcard said:

Your "realism" really looks like pessimism, though.

Well. Physics are cruel. People are people. Economics suck. Those are the main reasons space is hard, and you can't change it.

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8 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

Well. Physics are cruel. People are people. Economics suck. Those are the main reasons space is hard, and you can't change it.

Physics is emotionless. People are largely self-interested, economics is beautiful and does wonderful things if the populus understands it.

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