Skylon

SpaceX Discussion Thread

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Hoppy will deserve a place in the Smithsonian

They can use it like a room for other exhibits.
Or like a mini-planetarium.

3 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

There is a US law that says any launches from the US or by any US citizen outside the US or re-entries over the US must have a license from the Department Of Transportation (ie. the FAA). There is a penalty of up to $100,000/day for violation of this law.

So, they should use short-term flights and quickly deorbit.
A launch itself takes ~10 min.
An orbit turn to reach the landing zone - about 90 min.
So, 100 000 USD/day / 15 flights ~= 6 700 USD per flight.

Also, Starship is a tanker.
So, let SpX launch a charitable orbital billboard with Starship (this probably also could save some taxes).

Don't land the Starship, treat it as a spent upper stage, a piece of space junk.
Quickly deorbit the billboard, declare the flight finished.

Sell the spent tank (equipped with crew cabin) staying in orbit to a company not providing launches itself.
If I get this right, the orbital flights without launches are not prohibited?

So, then SpaceX pays 7 k$ per launch, while the company just provides an orbital taxi service.

Then pay 7 k$ for every Starship hop to orbit and back, transfer the cargo into the orbital Starship taxi and deliver it to destination.
 

2 hours ago, Nothalogh said:

As per international maritime law, approval of the lunar government would be necessary.

And since there is no such government, no such approval is needed.

Send an Apollo lander with 2 civil men, start a lunar mutiny, drop out a package of instant tea, declare lunar independence.
Send there an Apollo lander with 2 marines, let one declare that he supports those two, and another one to surrender.
Recognize the independence of the Lunar Republic, pay a contribution enough to rent place in a coworking  for their embassy.
Let them return back and work in their embassy, selling giving approvals.

2 hours ago, Nothalogh said:

And when they have to sign a treaty with the guy who grows the first potato, it'll be even funnier.

No need in farming, they can import food from a fastfood nearest to the embassy.

2 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

So, if the flight is under maritime law, and they steal the Apollo 15 LRV, would they legally, then, be space pirates?

No. They will be space pirates illegally.

2 hours ago, Nothalogh said:

No, as the LRV constitutes an abandoned vessel.

But if they still can use a laser reflector, it's still partially operational, so not fully abandoned, isn't it?

2 hours ago, Xd the great said:

The Martian explained this very well, and I expect said answer to be "Yes".

That's an opinion of a botanist sent to Mars with several potatoes to be eaten, and left there as everybody forgot about him.
Don't take words of the talking ballast too seriously.

Edited by kerbiloid

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10 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

It is a very interesting question whether any governmental approval is necessary for a private entity to land on the moon.

The existing Outer Space Treaties were not really written with the idea that private space flight might be a real thing. There is a US law that says any launches from the US or by any US citizen outside the US or re-entries over the US must have a license from the Department Of Transportation (ie. the FAA). There is a penalty of up to $100,000/day for violation of this law.

This brings to mind Weir's second book, Artemis, where Kenya (of all places) gets a pretty big leg up in the space race by providing a launch facility on the Equator and basically telling private companies that the red tape doesn't apply there. 

Then again, I suppose that if you can afford to launch a vessel to space in the first place, you could probably afford the fine too.

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9 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

So, if the flight is under maritime law, and they steal the Apollo 15 LRV, would they legally, then, be space pirates? :o

A rusty, cigar-shaped, three-finned hulk drifts outside the disabled Orion capsule, a Jolly Roger stenciled on the side. A clank. The hiss of the airlock. The hatch, turning. A grizzled captain, toting a not-flamethrower, drifts through, surveying the shocked crew. 

“Captain Musk’s the name, and I’m here to give you gentlemen a few options...”

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21 hours ago, cubinator said:

Things progressing faster than predicted in spaceflight? Not only is this almost unheard of in spaceflight, this is the most exciting current project for that to be happening on.

Its called 'reverse Elon Time' and its extremely rare.

I think they said that they would start hops at the end of 2019.

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1 hour ago, jadebenn said:

I think it is entirely logical to suspect that reusability hasn't actually brought SpaceX costs down. Shuttle was reusable. Wasn't cheaper.

As for accusations towards profit, there is such a thing called "price dumping" and "increasing market share." Just because SpaceX charges lower rates than anyone else doesn't mean they're making profit on those rates. If anything, I suspect those are break-even/slight-loss prices. ULA suspects as much. The Russians suspect as much. We don't know enough financially to say whether or not that's true, but we do know enough financially to say they're currently not cash-flow positive.

Regardless, this discussion is off-topic for this thread.

Moved from SLS thread to keep that on topic.

It's not entirely logical at all. It would be if SpaceX was working as a NASA contractor as those for Shuttle did. Shuttle could not save money, because the government could literally just print more.

SpaceX is a business, and if they were losing money, or demonstrably on a path to lose money, they would, quite simply, stop doing it. They have shown this attitude before on several occasions.

What possible benefit arises from launches costing them more, and yet they lower prices? It's not like they are working to put ULA out of business, because they know that the gov will throw money at ULA to keep them flying, they want multiple providers.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, tater said:

What possible benefit arises from launches costing them more, and yet they lower prices? It's not like they are working to put ULA out of business, because they know that the gov will throw money at ULA to keep them flying, they want multiple providers.

I don't think they're targeting ULA, I think they're trying to push the Russians out of the market. They've been pretty successful in that regard.

I think they've also been gunning for Arianespace's business, but they've been less successful there.

Edited by jadebenn

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@tater

Much better place for it :3

@jadebenn

I wouldn’t be surprised at that, since there’s some long-standing bad blood there ever since Musk tried to buy that ICBM. I don’t remember where I read it (May have been Elon’s bio) but they apparently treated him like a joke.

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3 minutes ago, jadebenn said:

I don't think they're targeting ULA, I think they're trying to push the Russians out of the market. They've been pretty successful in that regard.

There are finite numbers of commercial launches in the world, they were bound to eat into Roscosmos at some level, but they literally can't push Russia out of the market. Russia will keep flying because they launch their own payloads with ROSCOSMOS. As long as they keep making rockets for their own use, they can make them for sale. So undercutting them without making money does literally nothing. You can't sell below cost, and make it up with volume. They could sell at reduced profit, clearly, but that's not the same at all.

 

3 minutes ago, jadebenn said:

I think they've also been gunning for Arianespace's business, but they've been less successful there.

Same answer. It's a jobs program, and Europe will continue to fly their own missions (they literally said as much when they discussed reuse, saying that if it cut the number of rockets it would cut jobs).

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, tater said:

There are finite numbers of commercial launches in the world, they were bound to eat into Roscosmos at some level, but they literally can't push Russia out of the market. Russia will keep flying because they launch their own payloads with ROSCOSMOS. As long as they keep making rockets for their own use, they can make them for sale. So undercutting them without making money does literally nothing. You can't sell below cost, and make it up with volume. They could sell at reduced profit, clearly, but that's not the same at all.

Sure, they can't "run them out of business," because as far as I know every country with a significant in-space presence has a "guaranteed [domestic] access to space" policy, but SpaceX uses an iterative development process. Undercutting the competition would work to their advantage. To make a terrible pun: SpaceX tests as they fly. :sticktongue:

I have a suspicion this is how they got such ridiculously low development costs on the Falcon 9: They might have been losing money (or at least not gaining money - at this point I'm pretty sure they're at least breaking-even) on the launch itself, but they were using it as a way to test design changes and make iterations. I mean, compare the first Falcon 9 to the one that exists now! Practically the only thing they share is a name. So, in effect, they could use their customers to cross-subsidize their development costs.

I'm not saying they aren't legitimately cheaper than the competition. I'm saying it's probably in spite of reusability, not because of it.

Edited by jadebenn

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26 minutes ago, tater said:

Shuttle could not save money, because the government could literally just print more.

SpaceX is a business, and if they were losing money, or demonstrably on a path to lose money, they would, quite simply, stop doing it.

Both of these statements are extremely over-simplified. I'll ignore the one about the government because this isn't the right forum to discuss economic policy, but *many* businesses are willing to lose money in order to hopefully make more later. An obvious example is Amazon, who lost money for about 20 years, totalling billions of dollars. But less obviously, it cost Boeing about $20B to start building the 787, but they are expecting that eventually they will make all that money back.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, jadebenn said:

I'm not saying they aren't legitimately cheaper than the competition. I'm saying it's probably in spite of reusability, not because of it.

If this were true why is a Falcon Heavy in expendable config almost twice the cost of a reusable one?

Edited by Dale Christopher

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2 minutes ago, Dale Christopher said:

If this were true why is a Falcon Heavy in expendable config almost twice the cost of a reusable one?

Works against their business model. They disagree with me, and they've invested a lot into making their designs capable of being used more than once. If they've designed a booster to be reused X amount of times (where X>1), even if that's not necessarily smart overall, it's still wasteful to throw it away after one use. 

No-one's actually bought an expendable FH, either, so we can't say whether the listed price is accurate.

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Both of these statements are extremely over-simplified. I'll ignore the one about the government because this isn't the right forum to discuss economic policy, but *many* businesses are willing to lose money in order to hopefully make more later. An obvious example is Amazon, who lost money for about 20 years, totalling billions of dollars. But less obviously, it cost Boeing about $20B to start building the 787, but they are expecting that eventually they will make all that money back.

This is true, I was unclear in the first part.


I said, "Shuttle could not save money, because the government could literally just print more." I should have said "Shuttle could afford to not save money, because the government could literally just print more." It was never a business, and could never sink dev costs to make more later (it had none to make). SpaceX could sink some costs to make more later, but as long as launch costs are about where they are now, there will be a small number of commercial customers per year. The only way to lose money to generate more business would be to drop prices enough to create new markets. I don't think F9 can do that, even if they cut costs below their cost of mfg/operations.

Shuttle was pitched (originally) as a low cost truck to space, but it quickly was clear this was not the case, but the program continued---because it was never about that.

 

Edited by tater

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Posted (edited)

I think that it's also instructive here to consider that in terms of motivation, Musk isn't a normal CEO. Musk's goal with SpaceX is to make humanity interplanetary; large-scale reuse (even if it hypothetically isn't the most economical option right now) and orbital assembly/refueling are almost certainly going to be part of that. If SpaceX is making a huge profit, that's great, but I don't think that Musk really cares about profit in the grand scheme of things. As long as he can control the company and keep the investors from retreating, that's good enough for him. To risk going off topic, I'd wager that line of thinking is part of the reason why Tesla is eating up so much money as well. Whether Tesla is profitable doesn't greatly concern Musk. He just wants to grow the EV industry in general as quickly as possible by maximizing production and minimizing price. (Disclaimer: I'm not the most well-read on Tesla, so I apologize if this comparison is totally off-base.)

I'd even go so far as to say Musk is an activist first, and a CEO second, but perhaps that's going too far.

(Also, just to put my own stake in this, I do think that reuse helps SpaceX's bottom-line, but I can't say for certain.)

Edited by Silavite
Ninja'd by Mike! (well, sorta)

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3 minutes ago, tater said:

This is true, I was unclear in the first part.


I said, "Shuttle could not save money, because the government could literally just print more." I should have said "Shuttle could afford to not save money, because the government could literally just print more." It was never a business, and could never sink dev costs to make more later (it had none to make). SpaceX could sink some costs to make more later, but as long as launch costs are about where they are now, there will be a small number of commercial customers per year. The only way to lose money to generate more business would be to drop prices enough to create new markets. I don't think F9 can do that, even if they cut costs below their cost of mfg/operations.

Shuttle was pitched (originally) as a low cost truck to space, but it quickly was clear this was not the case, but the program continued---because it was never about that.

 

Similarly, Falcon 9 was never about making money, really. Falcon 9 was about practice for building a rocket that can take people to Mars. Musk has always said that.

Just now, Silavite said:

Whether Tesla is profitable doesn't greatly concern Musk.

Tesla is a public company. If the stockholders decide Musk isn't making them enough money, they can fire him.

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3 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Similarly, Falcon 9 was never about making money, really. Falcon 9 was about practice for building a rocket that can take people to Mars. Musk has always said that.

This is absolutely true. That said, Musk is not Bezos, he's gotta make money to do the things he wants to do.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Tesla is a public company. If the stockholders decide Musk isn't making them enough money, they can fire him.

That's very true, but Musk simply has to convince enough investors that profit is just over the next hill. I'd imagine that his image, popularity, and borderline cult-of-personality help with that. In the spirit of the old Keynes quote, "The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

Edited by Silavite
grammar

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Feeling like the only cynic in this world of naive, selfless billionaires spending their money to let people go to Mars, billion by billion.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

Feeling like the only cynic in this world of naive, selfless billionaires spending their money to let people go to Mars, billion by billion.

Not selfless. You need to change your picture.

Those Guys (Elon and Bezos) have more money than they ever need. They use that Money to "force" the reality to be like they want it to be. That is very egocentric. ;-)

Edited by hms_warrior

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, hms_warrior said:

Those Guys (Elon and Bezos) have more money than they ever need.

This rarely happens with people doing somethng for free.

P.S.
Of course, I'm sure that 90% of the forum users would spend 10-20 bln USD just for space enthusiasm.
If they had.

Edited by kerbiloid

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3 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

10-20 bln USD just for space enthusiasm.

I would spend it on Space Authoritarianism.

 

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It's not like they're living in a trailer to further their space goals. They still get to be rich, AND they get to fund their dream.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, tater said:

It's not like they're living in a trailer to further their space goals. They still get to be rich, AND they get to fund their dream.

I'm not a psychologist of course, but only "get moar" psychology brings enormous money.
If such person loses money here, he's probably getting moar somewhere else, thanks to this lost. Or at least, saves.
(Of course, if he's the real owner of this money).

Edited by kerbiloid

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30 minutes ago, Nothalogh said:

I would spend it on Space Authoritarianism.

 

I would spend it on Space Pirates. ಠ_ಠ 

Arrrrrrrrgon, shiver me turbopumps!

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