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28 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

But SpaceX does mostly commercial launches while the others are contractors for space agencies and militaries. So hopefully spacex launched more than them. A fair comparison would be between SpaceX and Rocketlab.

SpaceX does most NASA launches, too. And half the AF launches?

That ULA—a commercial launch provider—can’t get commercial customers tells you something.

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Of course SpaceX is directly competing with companies like ULA. You think ULA wouldn't want to be launching all these payloads that SpaceX is launching? Launching things into space is how they make money. Of course they would want to be launching them.

If there is anything unfair about the comparison it is that much of SpaceX's current launch cadence is supported by what is, essentially, an internal customer. If you take out all the Starlink launches, then you get exactly two Falcon 9 launches this year so far -- a crew launch to the ISS and a Turkish comsat.

Edited by mikegarrison
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27 minutes ago, SpaceFace545 said:

Again, SpaceX isn't competitors with any of those stated companies and those stated companies don't compete with SpaceX.

There are numerous lawsuits over government contract awards in both directions that prove otherwise. SpaceX is also working on vertical integration which as far as I know has zero commercial applications (certain classified payloads require this).

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49 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

If there is anything unfair about the comparison it is that much of SpaceX's current launch cadence is supported by what is, essentially, an internal customer. If you take out all the Starlink launches, then you get exactly two Falcon 9 launches this year so far -- a crew launch to the ISS and a Turkish comsat.

Yeah, this is exactly right, Starlink is obviously driving their launch cadence.

But making something speculatively is an interesting idea. ULA came up with a few really excellent plans for a "cislunar economy," for example. Admittedly the customer would mostly be the US government, but ULA could be launching those things now with a "build it and they will come" mentality. Had they done so before Artemis, maybe NASA would already be buying ULA cislunar missions. By only thinking in terms of innovation when it is paid for ahead of time, ULA can never be in the position SpaceX is, busily launching their own stuff.

 

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33 minutes ago, tater said:

ULA could be launching those things now with a "build it and they will come" mentality.

This is the advantage of a private company. With no public stockholders, SpaceX has a lot more freedom to take risks and run at a loss if they want to. Of course, that's mostly driven by Musk's cash.

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36 minutes ago, tater said:

Yeah, this is exactly right, Starlink is obviously driving their launch cadence.

But making something speculatively is an interesting idea. ULA came up with a few really excellent plans for a "cislunar economy," for example. Admittedly the customer would mostly be the US government, but ULA could be launching those things now with a "build it and they will come" mentality. Had they done so before Artemis, maybe NASA would already be buying ULA cislunar missions. By only thinking in terms of innovation when it is paid for ahead of time, ULA can never be in the position SpaceX is, busily launching their own stuff.

 

This is all fine and good, but the real metric is tonnage of payload, on orbit, per year.
That is the only thing that truly matters, not who it was for, or whether it was paid for by card or by check.

 

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1 minute ago, Nothalogh said:

This is all fine and good, but the real metric is tonnage of payload, on orbit, per year.
That is the only thing that truly matters, not who it was for, or whether it was paid for by card or by check.

That's not how for-profit businesses work.

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11 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

This is the advantage of a private company. With no public stockholders, SpaceX has a lot more freedom to take risks and run at a loss if they want to. Of course, that's mostly driven by Musk's cash.

Yeah, ULA is 2 public companies with stockholders to answer to.

Still, some public companies exist with a build it and they will come culture (tech). And to some extent ULA parents do in different regimes. Boeing is certainly interested in possible new aircraft tech. I imagine if something truly innovative was potentially "the next big thing" in that space, the shareholders would expect that they would be working on it.

The difference is that the launch market is not really very large. The commercial launch pie is quite small.

6 minutes ago, Nothalogh said:

This is all fine and good, but the real metric is tonnage of payload, on orbit, per year.
That is the only thing that truly matters, not who it was for, or whether it was paid for by card or by check.

If the peeing match is over "launches," then sure, mass to space is one metric. They're all arbitrary, my comment was more of an observation.

Note that Bruno tweets out a single number after a launch, the last was what, 143? 143 successful launches in a row. SpaceX has not caught up to ULA in that regard—though that includes 3 entirely different LVs from ULA—but at the current rate should lap them soon.

(EDIT: to be clear in the first part I'm saying that the ULA parents probably don't see any reasonable return possible by investing a lot so that they can then what? Win a commercial launch market that to them is chump change?)

Edited by tater
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11 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

That's not how for-profit businesses work.

Even NASA/DoD would have a hard time getting Congress to let them have a contract like that with ULA (or similar).  They'd then have to divide the launch capability between all sorts of competing departments, each demanding their hands held in different ways and having a whole slew of MIL-STD (or NASA/FAA) requirements to fill.  Maybe ROSCOSMOS or a Chinese company could get such a contract, but I doubt it.

So not only does the for-profit business not work that way in launching the spacecraft, nobody for-profit or not is willing to pay them just to "lift tonnage".  Oddly enough, the DoD paid ULA a billion dollars a year to "launch nothing".  You'd think that asking them to launch 10 "10 ton space-pods" (or some sort of space shipping container) would be a better deal.  But the pork must flow.

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5 hours ago, wumpus said:

Even NASA/DoD would have a hard time getting Congress to let them have a contract like that with ULA (or similar).  They'd then have to divide the launch capability between all sorts of competing departments, each demanding their hands held in different ways and having a whole slew of MIL-STD (or NASA/FAA) requirements to fill.  Maybe ROSCOSMOS or a Chinese company could get such a contract, but I doubt it.

So not only does the for-profit business not work that way in launching the spacecraft, nobody for-profit or not is willing to pay them just to "lift tonnage".  Oddly enough, the DoD paid ULA a billion dollars a year to "launch nothing".  You'd think that asking them to launch 10 "10 ton space-pods" (or some sort of space shipping container) would be a better deal.  But the pork must flow.

If I recall correctly, Saturn originated as an ARPA project, and upon being showed the proposal, the DOD response was "A giant booster, LOLWUT? We want ICBMs".

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New NasaSpaceflight article about starship:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/05/starship-sn15-reflight-road-orbit/

important parts:

  • SN15 passed initial inspections when it was sitting on the landing pad. Time will now be taken to fully inspect the vehicle and it's engines. Reflight is still on the table.

  • SN16 is on "hold" until SpaceX has a clear path forward. If SN16 does fly then it will likely be to 20KM in altitude

  • BN2 and BN2.1 are confirmed pathfinders and have been scrapped. BN3 is undergoing stacking ops in the high bay.

  • BN3 and SN20 will have a full complement of Raptors (28 for BN3 and 6 for SN20)

  • From BN3/SN20 - all Starships will be paired to their boosters. For example: SN21 will be stacked with BN4, SN22 with BN5 and so on.

  • Major design update slated for the BN7/SN24 stack and onwards

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On 5/16/2021 at 8:12 AM, mikegarrison said:

If there is anything unfair about the comparison it is that much of SpaceX's current launch cadence is supported by what is, essentially, an internal customer. If you take out all the Starlink launches, then you get exactly two Falcon 9 launches this year so far -- a crew launch to the ISS and a Turkish comsat.

This. They probably realized that there isn't a lot of cargo to support their intended launch cadence, given most 'commercial' cargo still have limited national backing and/or they're really small that it'd make the payload capacity looks wasteful.

Kind of wondering how SS/SH will work out in this regard, now yes SS is manned-oriented but it'll still be pretty long time before that. (granted the development is to come much faster comparing to anything manned that came before it, time vs. milestones wise.)

Edited by YNM
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9 minutes ago, Beccab said:

Does anybody know how many starlink can be launched in a single SS? Wondering how many starship launches are needed to complete the constellation

i guess 50 or 10 because moon starship can launch 100 astros they said

Edited by JB182
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22 minutes ago, Beccab said:

Does anybody know how many starlink can be launched in a single SS? Wondering how many starship launches are needed to complete the constellation

Here's an estimate, keeping in mind that there's a version 4m longer that's in the Starship customer guide.

Still not sure whether the nominal 100-150t payload is actual solid payload or inclusive of residual propellant though.

 

 

Also this:

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Beccab said:

New NasaSpaceflight article about starship:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/05/starship-sn15-reflight-road-orbit/

important parts:

  • SN15 passed initial inspections when it was sitting on the landing pad. Time will now be taken to fully inspect the vehicle and it's engines. Reflight is still on the table.

  • SN16 is on "hold" until SpaceX has a clear path forward. If SN16 does fly then it will likely be to 20KM in altitude

  • BN2 and BN2.1 are confirmed pathfinders and have been scrapped. BN3 is undergoing stacking ops in the high bay.

  • BN3 and SN20 will have a full complement of Raptors (28 for BN3 and 6 for SN20)

  • From BN3/SN20 - all Starships will be paired to their boosters. For example: SN21 will be stacked with BN4, SN22 with BN5 and so on.

  • Major design update slated for the BN7/SN24 stack and onwards

The BN3/SN20 pairing makes sense so does BN4/SN22 but BN7/SN24 indicate they will dispose all the first 5 superheavy first stages. 
Find it weird if they will not try to land them  earlier. Yes they might land and simply reuse the engines. 

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23 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

The BN3/SN20 pairing makes sense so does BN4/SN22 but BN7/SN24 indicate they will dispose all the first 5 superheavy first stages. 
Find it weird if they will not try to land them  earlier. Yes they might land and simply reuse the engines. 

They'll be making landing attempts from the start. They probably won't actually reuse them until they stop making water landings, though.

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22 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

Find it weird if they will not try to land them  earlier. Yes they might land and simply reuse the engines. 

They would need actual legs, and the SS design (even the temporary one) wouldn't work for them as boosters don't have that skirt. Given that there are pieces that appear to be possibly related to a booster catching mechanism (stuff on the tower+ some mechanism that was shown in a photo) they could simply want to avoid ever putting any leg on it as it may require too many modifications to the engine cluster and go straight from soft water landing to booster catching

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