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17 minutes ago, LordFerret said:

There are many sources which speculate on this, which you can Google.

I will throw this up however,

...which is very interesting, to me, because Fidelity IS a 'private equity firm'.

The only source I could find about an IPO in 2016 was Profit Confidential, which seems suspect. ('Triple your money in a month?' and some very fan boyish headlines: 'Musk's Latest Idea is Simply Awesome' and 'Hyperloop: Elon Musk Delivers Blunt Reality Check to Skeptics') 

Musk has said that SpaceX won't IPO until the MCT architecture is in place. Source:

Spoiler

From: Elon Musk Date: June 7, 2013, 12:43:06 AM PDT 
To: All <All@spacex.com
Subject: Going Public

Per my recent comments, I am increasingly concerned about SpaceX going public before the Mars transport system is in place. Creating the technology needed to establish life on Mars is and always has been the fundamental goal of SpaceX. If being a public company diminishes that likelihood, then we should not do so until Mars is secure. This is something that I am open to reconsidering, but, given my experiences with Tesla and SolarCity, I am hesitant to foist being public on SpaceX, especially given the long term nature of our mission. Some at SpaceX who have not been through a public company experience may think that being public is desirable. This is not so. Public company stocks, particularly if big step changes in technology are involved, go through extreme volatility, both for reasons of internal execution and for reasons that have nothing to do with anything except the economy. This causes people to be distracted by the manic-depressive nature of the stock instead of creating great products. It is important to emphasize that Tesla and SolarCity are public because they didn’t have any choice. Their private capital structure was becoming unwieldy and they needed to raise a lot of equity capital. SolarCity also needed to raise a huge amount of debt at the lowest possible interest rate to fund solar leases. The banks who provide that debt wanted SolarCity to have the additional and painful scrutiny that comes with being public. Those rules, referred to as Sarbanes-Oxley, essentially result in a tax being levied on company execution by requiring detailed reporting right down to how your meal is expensed during travel and you can be penalized even for minor mistakes. 

YES, BUT I COULD MAKE MORE MONEY IF WE WERE PUBLIC 

For those who are under the impression that they are so clever that they can outsmart public market investors and would sell SpaceX stock at the “right time,” let me relieve you of any such notion. If you really are better than most hedge fund managers, then there is no need to worry about the value of your SpaceX stock, as you can just invest in other public company stocks and make billions of dollars in the market. If you think: “Ah, but I know what’s really going on at SpaceX and that will give me an edge,” you are also wrong. Selling public company stock with insider knowledge is illegal. As a result, selling public stock is restricted to narrow time windows a few times per year. Even then, you can be prosecuted for insider trading. At Tesla, we had both an employee and an investor go through a grand jury investigation for selling stock over a year ago, despite them doing everything right in both the letter and spirit of the law. Not fun. Another thing that happens to public companies is that you become a target of the trial lawyers who create a class action lawsuit by getting someone to buy a few hundred shares and then pretending to sue the company on behalf of all investors for any drop in the stock price. Tesla is going through that right now even though the stock price is relatively high, because the drop in question occurred last year. It is also not correct to think that because Tesla and SolarCity share prices are on the lofty side right now, that SpaceX would be too. Public companies are judged on quarterly performance. Just because some companies are doing well, doesn’t mean that all would. Both of those companies (Tesla in particular) had great first quarter results. SpaceX did not. In fact, financially speaking, we had an awful first quarter. If we were public, the short sellers would be hitting us over the head with a large stick. We would also get beaten up every time there was an anomaly on the rocket or spacecraft, as occurred on flight 4 with the engine failure and flight 5 with the Dragon prevalves. Delaying launch of V1.1, which is now over a year behind schedule, would result in particularly severe punishment, as that is our primary revenue driver. Even something as minor as pushing a launch back a few weeks from one quarter to the next gets you a spanking. Tesla vehicle production in Q4 last year was literally only three weeks behind and yet the market response was brutal. 

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS 

My goal at SpaceX is to give you the best aspects of a public and private company. When we do a financing round, the stock price is keyed off of approximately what we would be worth if publicly traded, excluding irrational exuberance or depression, but without the pressure and distraction of being under a hot public spotlight. Rather than have the stock be up during one liquidity window and down during another, the goal is a steady upward trend and never to let the share price go below the last round. The end result for you (or an investor in SpaceX) financially will be the same as if we were public and you sold a steady amount of stock every year. In case you are wondering about a specific number, I can say that I’m confident that our long term stock price will be over $100 if we execute well on Falcon 9 and Dragon. For this to be the case, we must have a steady and rapid cadence of launch that is far better than what we have achieved in the past. We have more work ahead of us than you probably realize. Let me give you a sense of where things stand financially: SpaceX expenses this year will be roug[h]ly $800 to $900 million (which blows my mind btw). Since we get revenue of $60M for every F9 flight or double that for a FH or F9-Dragon flight, we must have about twelve flights per year where four of those flights are either Dragon or Heavy merely in order to achieve 10% profitability!  
For the next few years, we have NASA commercial crew funding that helps supplement those numbers, but, after that, we are on our own. That is not much time to finish F9, FH, Dragon V2 and achieve an average launch rate of at least one per month. And bear in mind that is an average, so if we take an extra three weeks to launch a rocket for any reason (could even be due to the satellite), we have only one week to do the follow-on flight. 

MY RECOMMENDATION 

Below is my advice about regarding selling SpaceX stock or options. No complicated analysis is required, as the rules of thumb are pretty simple. If you believe that SpaceX will execute better than the average public company, then our stock price will continue to appreciate at a rate greater than that of the stock market, which would be the next highest return place to invest money over the long term. Therefore, you should sell only the amount that you need to improve your standard of living in the short to medium term. I do actually recommend selling some amount of stock, even if you are certain it will appreciate, as life is short and a bit more cash can increase fun and reduce stress at home (so long as you don’t ratchet up your ongoing personal expenditures proportionately). To maximize your post tax return, you are probably best off exercising your options to convert them to stock (if you can afford to do this) and then holding the stock for a year before selling it at our roughly biannual liquidity events. This allows you to pay the capital gains tax rate, instead of the income tax rate. On a final note, we are planning to do a liquidity event as soon as Falcon 9 qualification is complete in one to two months. I don’t know exactly what the share price will be yet, but, based on initial conversations with investors, I would estimate probably between $30 and $35. This places the value of SpaceX at $4 to $5 billion, which is about what it would be if we were public right now and, frankly, an excellent number considering that the new F9, FH and Dragon V2 have yet to launch. 

Elon

 

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1 hour ago, Robotengineer said:

... which seems suspect.

It is.

 

Quote

Musk, however, has said that he's open to changing his mind. So, there's a possibility we could see a SpaceX IPO before the Mars Colonial Transporter is up and running. - http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/01/26/2-companies-i-want-to-ipo-in-2016.aspx

Despite all that has been previously said (by Musk), why then the buy-in of Fidelity? I tend to agree with Beth McKenna. I guess we're just going to have to wait and see.

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7 hours ago, fredinno said:

I'm not Russian. How do you expect me to watch that?

Sorry? You don't need to listen it, just watch, say from 3:30.

7 hours ago, fredinno said:

reducing Dragon Mass does not have many benefits, aside from maybe fitting a small 100kg satellite out the back of the trunk

Removing 2000 kg of fuel, 8 engines and 4 mechanical legs from inside the heat protection (several cm thick) should definitely decrease the capsule mass by several tonnes.
So, roughly, instead of F9 there could be 2 F5.

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There is no F5 rocket and SpaceX doesn't want to maintain several production lines. They are stuck with the F9, so the extra weight on Dragon is not a problem. The powered landing is to make reuse easier. With the payload budget that F9 offers them, that they would rather have easier reusability than increased payload to LEO.

 

Edited by Nibb31

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16 hours ago, PB666 said:

You were the one who said the UN was bad. If you didn't want a liquid response you should watch who you point  your liquification unit at.

It shows there are people who implode when they come into contact with politics. :wink:

(Extreme Hyperbole, if you seriously can't tell) :P

16 hours ago, LordFerret said:

There are many sources which speculate on this, which you can Google.

I will throw this up however,

...which is very interesting, to me, because Fidelity IS a 'private equity firm'.

Do you have a source on Fidelity investing in SpaceX?

6 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

There is no F5 rocket and SpaceX doesn't want to maintain several production lines. They are stuck with the F9, so the extra weight on Dragon is not a problem. The powered landing is to make reuse easier. With the payload budget that F9 offers them, that they would rather have easier reusability than increased payload to LEO.

 

Exactly! That's what I've been trying to tell @kerbiloid!

If SpaceX had a smaller rocket, they could save money by using the smaller rocket and reducing Dragon Mass. However, they do not, thus, mass is not a huge concern.

I would have liked a F5 FT with a baseline 8T barge return payload capacity, using the same tank diameter as F9, but :P

I wonder why SpaceX decided not to go with a Angara-style 4-core solution instead of a 2-core solution for FH, and make the baseline rocket and engines smaller?

Edited by fredinno

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9 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Sorry? You don't need to listen it, just watch, say from 3:30.

Removing 2000 kg of fuel, 8 engines and 4 mechanical legs from inside the heat protection (several cm thick) should definitely decrease the capsule mass by several tonnes.
So, roughly, instead of F9 there could be 2 F5.

 

 

There is no F5. Did you just skim over my comment and pick the parts that fit your confirmation bias?

Also, that video does nothing to show those chutes are not heavy. It just shows they can carry a tank to the ground.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-80

Those are 2x the mass of an empty F9 core. We never said it was impossible to land a booster with chutes, just that it was worse of an idea.

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15 hours ago, Robotengineer said:

The only source I could find about an IPO in 2016 was Profit Confidential, which seems suspect. ('Triple your money in a month?' and some very fan boyish headlines: 'Musk's Latest Idea is Simply Awesome' and 'Hyperloop: Elon Musk Delivers Blunt Reality Check to Skeptics') 

Musk has said that SpaceX won't IPO until the MCT architecture is in place. Source:

15 hours ago, Robotengineer said:

The only source I could find about an IPO in 2016 was Profit Confidential, which seems suspect. ('Triple your money in a month?' and some very fan boyish headlines: 'Musk's Latest Idea is Simply Awesome' and 'Hyperloop: Elon Musk Delivers Blunt Reality Check to Skeptics') 

Musk has said that SpaceX won't IPO until the MCT architecture is in place. Source:

  Hide contents

From: Elon Musk Date: June 7, 2013, 12:43:06 AM PDT 
To: All <All@spacex.com
Subject: Going Public

Per my recent comments, I am increasingly concerned about SpaceX going public before the Mars transport system is in place. Creating the technology needed to establish life on Mars is and always has been the fundamental goal of SpaceX. If being a public company diminishes that likelihood, then we should not do so until Mars is secure. This is something that I am open to reconsidering, but, given my experiences with Tesla and SolarCity, I am hesitant to foist being public on SpaceX, especially given the long term nature of our mission. Some at SpaceX who have not been through a public company experience may think that being public is desirable. This is not so. Public company stocks, particularly if big step changes in technology are involved, go through extreme volatility, both for reasons of internal execution and for reasons that have nothing to do with anything except the economy. This causes people to be distracted by the manic-depressive nature of the stock instead of creating great products. It is important to emphasize that Tesla and SolarCity are public because they didn’t have any choice. Their private capital structure was becoming unwieldy and they needed to raise a lot of equity capital. SolarCity also needed to raise a huge amount of debt at the lowest possible interest rate to fund solar leases. The banks who provide that debt wanted SolarCity to have the additional and painful scrutiny that comes with being public. Those rules, referred to as Sarbanes-Oxley, essentially result in a tax being levied on company execution by requiring detailed reporting right down to how your meal is expensed during travel and you can be penalized even for minor mistakes. 

YES, BUT I COULD MAKE MORE MONEY IF WE WERE PUBLIC 

For those who are under the impression that they are so clever that they can outsmart public market investors and would sell SpaceX stock at the “right time,” let me relieve you of any such notion. If you really are better than most hedge fund managers, then there is no need to worry about the value of your SpaceX stock, as you can just invest in other public company stocks and make billions of dollars in the market. If you think: “Ah, but I know what’s really going on at SpaceX and that will give me an edge,” you are also wrong. Selling public company stock with insider knowledge is illegal. As a result, selling public stock is restricted to narrow time windows a few times per year. Even then, you can be prosecuted for insider trading. At Tesla, we had both an employee and an investor go through a grand jury investigation for selling stock over a year ago, despite them doing everything right in both the letter and spirit of the law. Not fun. Another thing that happens to public companies is that you become a target of the trial lawyers who create a class action lawsuit by getting someone to buy a few hundred shares and then pretending to sue the company on behalf of all investors for any drop in the stock price. Tesla is going through that right now even though the stock price is relatively high, because the drop in question occurred last year. It is also not correct to think that because Tesla and SolarCity share prices are on the lofty side right now, that SpaceX would be too. Public companies are judged on quarterly performance. Just because some companies are doing well, doesn’t mean that all would. Both of those companies (Tesla in particular) had great first quarter results. SpaceX did not. In fact, financially speaking, we had an awful first quarter. If we were public, the short sellers would be hitting us over the head with a large stick. We would also get beaten up every time there was an anomaly on the rocket or spacecraft, as occurred on flight 4 with the engine failure and flight 5 with the Dragon prevalves. Delaying launch of V1.1, which is now over a year behind schedule, would result in particularly severe punishment, as that is our primary revenue driver. Even something as minor as pushing a launch back a few weeks from one quarter to the next gets you a spanking. Tesla vehicle production in Q4 last year was literally only three weeks behind and yet the market response was brutal. 

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS 

My goal at SpaceX is to give you the best aspects of a public and private company. When we do a financing round, the stock price is keyed off of approximately what we would be worth if publicly traded, excluding irrational exuberance or depression, but without the pressure and distraction of being under a hot public spotlight. Rather than have the stock be up during one liquidity window and down during another, the goal is a steady upward trend and never to let the share price go below the last round. The end result for you (or an investor in SpaceX) financially will be the same as if we were public and you sold a steady amount of stock every year. In case you are wondering about a specific number, I can say that I’m confident that our long term stock price will be over $100 if we execute well on Falcon 9 and Dragon. For this to be the case, we must have a steady and rapid cadence of launch that is far better than what we have achieved in the past. We have more work ahead of us than you probably realize. Let me give you a sense of where things stand financially: SpaceX expenses this year will be roug[h]ly $800 to $900 million (which blows my mind btw). Since we get revenue of $60M for every F9 flight or double that for a FH or F9-Dragon flight, we must have about twelve flights per year where four of those flights are either Dragon or Heavy merely in order to achieve 10% profitability!  
For the next few years, we have NASA commercial crew funding that helps supplement those numbers, but, after that, we are on our own. That is not much time to finish F9, FH, Dragon V2 and achieve an average launch rate of at least one per month. And bear in mind that is an average, so if we take an extra three weeks to launch a rocket for any reason (could even be due to the satellite), we have only one week to do the follow-on flight. 

MY RECOMMENDATION 

Below is my advice about regarding selling SpaceX stock or options. No complicated analysis is required, as the rules of thumb are pretty simple. If you believe that SpaceX will execute better than the average public company, then our stock price will continue to appreciate at a rate greater than that of the stock market, which would be the next highest return place to invest money over the long term. Therefore, you should sell only the amount that you need to improve your standard of living in the short to medium term. I do actually recommend selling some amount of stock, even if you are certain it will appreciate, as life is short and a bit more cash can increase fun and reduce stress at home (so long as you don’t ratchet up your ongoing personal expenditures proportionately). To maximize your post tax return, you are probably best off exercising your options to convert them to stock (if you can afford to do this) and then holding the stock for a year before selling it at our roughly biannual liquidity events. This allows you to pay the capital gains tax rate, instead of the income tax rate. On a final note, we are planning to do a liquidity event as soon as Falcon 9 qualification is complete in one to two months. I don’t know exactly what the share price will be yet, but, based on initial conversations with investors, I would estimate probably between $30 and $35. This places the value of SpaceX at $4 to $5 billion, which is about what it would be if we were public right now and, frankly, an excellent number considering that the new F9, FH and Dragon V2 have yet to launch. 

Elon

 

 

What is Profit Credential? (and the source from there)

 

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7 hours ago, Nibb31 said:

There is no F5 rocket and SpaceX doesn't want to maintain several production lines. They are stuck with the F9, so the extra weight on Dragon is not a problem. The powered landing is to make reuse easier. With the payload budget that F9 offers them, that they would rather have easier reusability than increased payload to LEO.

 

I expect they will see an expansion of production lines with the opening of the BC facility in a couple of years. At least looking at the purchased area and current usage I expect there will be multiple pads at the site. Just guessing. But wasn't the F9 a rework of other versions that were basically under-powered, if you are recycling rockets why not just not run with 7 engines at 80% power at lift off, then shut down the central engine and 800 m/s and go with that. If it is true that 90% of the cost is in the launch, just go with that.

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2 hours ago, fredinno said:

I wonder why SpaceX decided not to go with a Angara-style 4-core solution instead of a 2-core solution for FH, and make the baseline rocket and engines smaller?

Reuse is their planned modus operandi and recovering 4-5 cores is much more complex operationally than recovering 2-3.  Falcon Heavy is intended to launch in large comsats (up to 7 tonnes) in full reuse mode, which explains the relatively small fairing. Also, the three-core Falcon Heavy already needs the manufacture of a "buffed-up" version of the central core.

As for Mars, I expect them to get there in the 2030s (late 2020s if I was thinking more optimistically) in cooperation with NASA.

Edited by Pipcard

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2 hours ago, Pipcard said:

Reuse is their planned modus operandi and recovering 4-5 cores is much more complex operationally than recovering 2-3.  Falcon Heavy is intended to launch in large comsats (up to 7 tonnes) in full reuse mode, which explains the relatively small fairing. Also, the three-core Falcon Heavy already needs the manufacture of a "buffed-up" version of the central core.

As for Mars, I expect them to get there in the 2030s (late 2020s if I was thinking more optimistically) in cooperation with NASA.

YOU! :mad: Did we really have to meet again so soon :(...

Nothing good can come out of this.

But really, I've heard that 5x from you so far, with absolutely no source to back it up. I would like a source please, at the very least, that recovering 4 cores is so difficult that it validates not using a 4-core configuration.

And the small fairing is actually a downside.

Also, the "buffed up" core is a good thing because if extended to the other cores, it allows for even higher-speed reuse (and thus less fuel used).

 

Also, explain why NASA would cooperate with SpaceX when they have their own system. Unless they also use NASA hardware (ie SLS/Orion), which wouold negate a huge amount of cost savings.

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16 minutes ago, fredinno said:

YOU! :mad: Did we really have to meet again so soon :(...

Nothing good can come out of this.

But really, I've heard that 5x from you so far, with absolutely no source to back it up. I would like a source please, at the very least, that recovering 4 cores is so difficult that it validates not using a 4-core configuration.

And the small fairing is actually a downside.

Also, the "buffed up" core is a good thing because if extended to the other cores, it allows for even higher-speed reuse (and thus less fuel used).

 

Also, explain why NASA would cooperate with SpaceX when they have their own system. Unless they also use NASA hardware (ie SLS/Orion), which wouold negate a huge amount of cost savings.

He's right landing 3 cores is harder than landing 1 at a time.

NASA is already cooperating with SpaceX, that's old news.

Edited by PB666

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1 hour ago, fredinno said:

YOU! :mad: Did we really have to meet again so soon :(...

Nothing good can come out of this.

But really, I've heard that 5x from you so far, with absolutely no source to back it up. I would like a source please, at the very least, that recovering 4 cores is so difficult that it validates not using a 4-core configuration.

And the small fairing is actually a downside.

Also, the "buffed up" core is a good thing because if extended to the other cores, it allows for even higher-speed reuse (and thus less fuel used).

 

Also, explain why NASA would cooperate with SpaceX when they have their own system. Unless they also use NASA hardware (ie SLS/Orion), which wouold negate a huge amount of cost savings.

Soon? It's been almost two months...

You don't need a source to understand that coordinating the almost-simultaneous landing of four or five cores is much harder than landing two or three. A five-core FH would also mean more complex pad integration, more separate avionics systems, more points of failure, and possibly diminishing returns as well.

But anyways, back to the topic at hand. If SpaceX actually gets the BFR to work, and for much less cost than SLS, NASA might use that. I have some skepticism but let's wait for the announcement in September and see what happens then.

Actually, Musk's decision to go with a "single monster boost stage" for BFR instead of a three-core implies that he ultimately prefers the simplicity of fewer cores especially when reuse is involved.

Edited by Pipcard

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8 hours ago, fredinno said:


Sorry. I don't follow finance much.

 

That's ok, a lot of people don't. However, it might be something to start doing ... a lot of what happens in this world (especially with regard to things like emerging technologies) often reflects first in what the financial world is doing in related industries. As the saying goes: follow the money.

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On 2016-06-08 at 1:32 PM, PB666 said:

He's right landing 3 cores is harder than landing 1 at a time.

NASA is already cooperating with SpaceX, that's old news.

They are- but they've already done high-speed landings, and F9H will need 3 core reuse anyways.

Reusing 2 more doesn't sound like a big deal when SpaceX has done arguably harder things with those F9 cores.

And NASA is cooperating with SpaceX, but not so that their system (SLS/ORION) competes with SpaceX's. Once the two's programs converge, things might get a bit more ugly.

On 2016-06-08 at 1:34 PM, Pipcard said:

 

Soon? It's been almost two months...

You don't need a source to understand that coordinating the almost-simultaneous landing of four or five cores is much harder than landing two or three. A five-core FH would also mean more complex pad integration, more separate avionics systems, more points of failure, and possibly diminishing returns as well.

But anyways, back to the topic at hand. If SpaceX actually gets the BFR to work, and for much less cost than SLS, NASA might use that. I have some skepticism but let's wait for the announcement in September and see what happens then.

Actually, Musk's decision to go with a "single monster boost stage" for BFR instead of a three-core implies that he ultimately prefers the simplicity of fewer cores especially when reuse is involved.

Actually, the "single booster" is probably more because the bigger of a fairing you can use for a manned interplanetary landing (especially Mars) the better- the wider capsules will use less fuel, and be more stable when landing.

Also, the argument that a 5-core results in too much complexity isn't a very good one. Look at rockets using multiple boosters, like Delta II, Atlas V, Angara (especially). Strapping boosters on a rocket is about as well understood as a 2nd stage.

It's like stating 3-stage rockets are a bad idea, just because those rockets are more complex, even though they are cheap, and can vastly increase GTO payload. (hence, why they are used in the first place)

On 2016-06-08 at 6:42 PM, Nibb31 said:

.

huh?

On 2016-06-08 at 7:01 PM, LordFerret said:

That's ok, a lot of people don't. However, it might be something to start doing ... a lot of what happens in this world (especially with regard to things like emerging technologies) often reflects first in what the financial world is doing in related industries. As the saying goes: follow the money.

Oh, I follow politics, and economics sometimes, just not the financial side.

Edited by fredinno

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1 minute ago, fredinno said:

And NASA is cooperating with SpaceX, but not so that their system (SLS/ORION) competes with SpaceX's. Once the two's programs converge, things might get a bit more ugly.

What you don't get is that NASA never competes. Government agencies are not there to compete or to be efficient. NASA is a public service. One of its mandates is to study aeronautics and space and to pass in order to improve technologies that the private sector can use. Whenever possible, it publishes its findings so that the public, and in particular the US aerospace industry, can benefit from that knowledge.

So yes, SpaceX has access to much of NASA's documentation. So does Boeing, Lockmart and any other company that requests access to NASA's knowledge base. It's part of NASA's mandate to cooperate with the industry. Competition isn't part of NASA's mindset.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

What you don't get is that NASA never competes. Government agencies are not there to compete or to be efficient. NASA is a public service. One of its mandates is to study aeronautics and space and to pass in order to improve technologies that the private sector can use. Whenever possible, it publishes its findings so that the public, and in particular the US aerospace industry, can benefit from that knowledge.

So yes, SpaceX has access to much of NASA's documentation. So does Boeing, Lockmart and any other company that requests access to NASA's knowledge base. It's part of NASA's mandate to cooperate with the industry. Competition isn't part of NASA's mindset.

 

 

"compete" as in "the two end up in the same niche".

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3 minutes ago, fredinno said:

"compete" as in "the two end up in the same niche".

Then they can't compete because they're not in the same niche. They both do Space, and work together when (as is extremely frequent) one needs or can help the other (and it's in each's best interest to do so, which seems also to be quite frequent). But saying they're competing is like saying Greyhound is competing with the Department of Transportation because both spend a lot of their efforts on the roads.

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1 hour ago, fredinno said:

Also, the argument that a 5-core results in too much complexity isn't a very good one. Look at rockets using multiple boosters, like Delta II, Atlas V, Angara (especially). Strapping boosters on a rocket is about as well understood as a 2nd stage.

It's like stating 3-stage rockets are a bad idea, just because those rockets are more complex, even though they are cheap, and can vastly increase GTO payload. (hence, why they are used in the first place)

The boosters of Delta II, Atlas V, and Angara aren't designed for reuse (i.e. SpaceX style). That's the difference. I know that the Baikal flyback booster was proposed for Angara but...

"However, the use of two to four reusable boosters on one LV may cause a number of problems. Thus in case of Angara A5-V and An­gara A4-V, the tailplanes of two out of four boosters have to be made folding. Besides, there may be serious difficulties when four RBs sepa­rating from the LV simultaneously return to the airdrome of the space center [sic]."

And 3-stage rockets have more separation events, which increase the risk of failure, and you also add additional production lines. It's not that a 3-stage is a bad idea, but a 2-stage is better for reliability and production cost optimization (however, 1-stage goes too far and you lose a lot of your payload capacity because of the nature of the rocket equation). Thus, there are a significant amount of people (such as on the NASASpaceflight forum or r/spacex) who speculate that the BFR/MCT plan will be unveiled as a two stage system with the MCT essentially being a reusable upper stage and refueling in orbit before going to Mars. I've seen some others speculate that there might be in-space solar electric stages involved, though.

Edited by Pipcard

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56 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

Then they can't compete because they're not in the same niche. They both do Space, and work together when (as is extremely frequent) one needs or can help the other (and it's in each's best interest to do so, which seems also to be quite frequent). But saying they're competing is like saying Greyhound is competing with the Department of Transportation because both spend a lot of their efforts on the roads.

I was referring to BFR and SLS :P

53 minutes ago, Pipcard said:

The boosters of Delta II, Atlas V, and Angara aren't designed for reuse (i.e. SpaceX style). That's the difference. I know that the Baikal flyback booster was proposed for Angara but...

"However, the use of two to four reusable boosters on one LV may cause a number of problems. Thus in case of Angara A5-V and An­gara A4-V, the tailplanes of two out of four boosters have to be made folding. Besides, there may be serious difficulties when four RBs sepa­rating from the LV simultaneously return to the airdrome of the space center [sic]."

And 3-stage rockets have more separation events, which increase the risk of failure, and you also add additional production lines. It's not that a 3-stage is a bad idea, but a 2-stage is better for reliability and production cost optimization (however, 1-stage goes too far and you lose a lot of your payload capacity because of the nature of the rocket equation). Thus, there are a significant amount of people (such as on the NASASpaceflight forum or r/spacex) who speculate that the BFR/MCT plan will be unveiled as a two stage system with the MCT being the upper stage and refueling in orbit before going to Mars. I've seen some others speculate that there might be in-space solar electric stages involved, though.

Quote

The boosters of Delta II, Atlas V, and Angara aren't designed for reuse (i.e. SpaceX style). That's the difference. I know that the Baikal flyback booster was proposed for Angara but...

"However, the use of two to four reusable boosters on one LV may cause a number of problems. Thus in case of Angara A5-V and An­gara A4-V, the tailplanes of two out of four boosters have to be made folding. Besides, there may be serious difficulties when four RBs sepa­rating from the LV simultaneously return to the airdrome of the space center [sic]."

latest?cb=20121201072505

 

You have to have folded wings on a 4-core Angara-Baikal, of course a 4 booster arrangement would be a pain in the butt. Not on a 4-core F9.

 

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And 3-stage rockets have more separation events, which increase the risk of failure, and you also add additional production lines. It's not that a 3-stage is a bad idea, but a 2-stage is better for reliability and production cost optimization (however, 1-stage goes too far and you lose a lot of your payload capacity because of the nature of the rocket equation).

There have been a few cases in which boosters failed to separate, or went boom, but keep in mind that some of the most reliable and "best" LVs use 3 stage, or >2 booster configs, like Atlas and Soyuz.

IN general, the 1-2T GTO payload capacity is more than worth the extra cost of a 3rd stage, especially since they can use the same tank diameter. Just because it means you need another production line doesn't make it something F9 shouldn't ever have. If that was the case, OTRAG would have been an even better rocket.

Plus, Boosters are actually MORE reliable than a 2nd or 3rd stage, since the boosters can be static tested.

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Thus, there are a significant amount of people (such as on the NASASpaceflight forum or r/spacex) who speculate that the BFR/MCT plan will be unveiled as a two stage system with the MCT being the upper stage and refueling in orbit before going to Mars. I've seen some others speculate that there might be in-space solar electric stages involved, though.

That has nothing to do with a 4-core F9. And it's all just speculation, anyways. It could very well be 4-stage, since BFR will be testing the upper limits of CH4 on the rocket equation....

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34 minutes ago, fredinno said:

I was referring to BFR and SLS :P

I still say no competition. If SpaceX does it for cheaper then NASA will happily pay them to do it. The only possible reason they would not do that would be because Congress directed them to build it themselves, and I'm not allowed to discuss politics on this forum (I've been warned) so I won't discuss why Congress might do THAT.

If NASA does it cheaper...

...sorry I just laughed out loud for like 5 minutes straight.

Edited by 5thHorseman

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2 hours ago, fredinno said:

You have to have folded wings on a 4-core Angara-Baikal, of course a 4 booster arrangement would be a pain in the butt.

Energy-2 (from buran.ru)

uragan4m.jpg

Edited by kerbiloid

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