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SpaceX Discussion Thread

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1 hour ago, ThatGuyWithALongUsername said:

That suggests that they're farther along with SN1 than it looks... those didn't appear until pretty late with Mk.1...

 

I've heard speculation that part of the changes in their construction method involves outfitting all the pieces *before* welding them together, avoiding the elaborate scaffolding and all that in Mk.1 (see pics of Elon *inside* Starship tanks). So, individual parts are worked on in the tents that sprung up, and welding them together should take a lot less time. By the time we actually see the rocket take shape out in the open, it may already be practically finished.

 

If this total speculation is true, than it really looks like they have most of the components ready. Elon tweeted directly that the domes/bulkheads are done, the Raptor appearance suggests that the thrust structure is finished enough to do fit checks, and now one of the fins have arrived.

Elon's timeline for SN1 could also hint at this. Now, I know, I know, factor for Elon time and all that. But Elon said in December that "flight is hopefully 2-3 months away." And while I can't find solid dates for these, with mk.1, Elon thought flight was 2-3 months away pretty much at the presentation in September with the thing fully built behind him (Nov.-Dec., I think he said somewhere). This suggests that SN1 is at the same level of completion as Mk.1 was at the presentation- just instead of putting it together first and then outfitting the interior, they're outfitting the interior first and then putting it back together.

Starship SN1... *may* be closer to flight than we think... and I am so dang ready. I hope it, y'know, actually flies this time.

The real complex mechanical part outside of making the tanks strong and light enough is probably the trust structure and plumbing. Yes you have the raceway and stuff but that is just work. 
 

11 minutes ago, tater said:

 

LA is in part because most of the SpaceX employee live there, also its an port. 
I kind of suspect manned starship as it will be way more complex than the cargo version as it basically is an space station instead of an cargo hold. 

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3 hours ago, ThatGuyWithALongUsername said:

Starship SN1... *may* be closer to flight than we think...

Makes a certain amount of sense. Figure flaps, thrust structure, and various well-understood internals have been designed as far as they can be at this point— they need real testing to progress further and aren’t “unknowns” as much. It’s the main tank structure that’s the current frustration and they’re on the verge of solving that, so once they actually do, everything could go together real quick. Partly because...

3 hours ago, ThatGuyWithALongUsername said:

I've heard speculation that part of the changes in their construction method involves outfitting all the pieces *before* welding them together, avoiding the elaborate scaffolding and all that in Mk.1 (see pics of Elon *inside* Starship tanks). So, individual parts are worked on in the tents that sprung up, and welding them together should take a lot less time. By the time we actually see the rocket take shape out in the open, it may already be practically finished.

This is how they already build regular ship ships (and shipping ships for shipping shipping ships), and its done for the same reasons. Much easier to work on large chunks and then weld them all together, making huge ships seem to come together very quickly. 
65672e21c6e20e685228ca39e3da21ca.jpg

Sections like this are almost fully assembled, plumbing, wiring, etc. 

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Also, with handy, preassembled rust, for that video game level aesthetic every sailor loves!

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SN1 seems to be three rings tall already.

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4 hours ago, MinimumSky5 said:

Also, with handy, preassembled rust, for that video game level aesthetic every sailor loves!

For Starship, rust is earned at the destination.

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Talk by Christopher Couluris, Director of Vehicle Integration, Space X.

He says they are below 30 million per launch with reused boosters about 7 minutes in. (later he said 28 million, all in for a F9 launch)

Starlink 5 is the end of Feb, will be the first flight 5 of a booster.

Turn around a booster in under 30 days by the maintenance team. Boosters don't go back to the factory.

They want to fly each 10 times. They have 11 boosters at the Cape right now.

They are up to Raptor 20.

The machine that turns steel stock into rings can make a SS/SH ring in 10 minutes.

 

 

Sadly it ends before the end of the presentation.

 

$1795/kg to Starlink orbit.

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Eleven spare boosters. About 100 potential launches. Less if some of them will be non-recoverable (mission requirements or malfunctions\bad landings) I'd say SpaceX is well stocked for quite some time :)

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Wow, they took the video down.

 

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I think he saw that a zillion people started watching, and pulled it. maybe he reups with with ads on.

 

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Or someone didn’t want such information (particularly the $28-$30 million number) publicly disclosed 

Edited by StrandedonEarth

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Spoiler

Or those men are special men not wanting their faces to be shown.

 

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Someone noticed something... interesting from that presentation that was taken private on YouTube earlier today (screenshot from jpo234 on NSF forums, brightened by me). I felt it was worth mentioning here because what:

Just at the beginning, as the intro faded away, this rendering was found, hidden behind the fade:

IJGifC1.png

It looks like cargo Starship being used for the Artemis program, with a more conventional crewed lander accompanying it.

Not saying this isn't a good idea or even that this plan is surprising- there is no way NASA would be easily convinced that Starship would be safe enough for crew, and of course politics- but it looks really strange seeing these two very different craft next to each other. And with Artemis slipping, SpaceX really should have crew Starship ready by 2028, so uhh... the crewed lander seems a bit out of place here, just saying

2 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

Or someone didn’t want such information (particularly the $28-$30 million number) publicly disclosed 

Well... too late now lol

Edited by ThatGuyWithALongUsername

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3 hours ago, tater said:

He says they are below 30 million per launch with reused boosters about 7 minutes in. (later he said 28 million, all in for a F9 launch)

Wow.

3 hours ago, tater said:

The machine that turns steel stock into rings can make a SS/SH ring in 10 minutes.

Wow x2

Yeah, saying that F9 is >30mln per launch is really bad for the business. Though, if companies start demanding even lower prices for SpaceX's services and they agree (but I really doubt they will since they already are the cheapest) such cost reduction could really mess with the competition since there's no way others can reduce launch costs that much.

Edited by Wjolcz

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Just now, Wjolcz said:

Wow.

Wow x2

Yeah, saying that F9 is 30mln per launch is really bad for business. Though on the other hand if companies start demanding even lower prices for SpaceX's services and SpaceX agrees (though I doubt they will since they already are the cheapest) such cost reduction could really mess with the competition since there's no way others can reduce launch costs that much.

Well... SpaceX is already the cheapest, so they can afford a 178% upcharge with little to no impact on customers. It's getting worryingly close to a monopoly.

Fortunately, other launch providers are closing in SpaceX prices and soon they will have better competition. Ariane 6, Vulcan, H3, and New Glenn are specifically trying to compete with the Falcon 9 and Heavy.

Unfortunately, they usually seem to be trying to undercut the $50M launch price SpaceX seems to charge for the Falcon 9. SpaceX could easily lower it to $40M or even $30M and still make money.

Even less fortunately, Starship is (hopefully) coming and everyone might be toast.

Starship is supposed to ultimately have launch costs of as low as $2M, and nobody else is developing anything even close to that with a payload capacity of over a couple tons (unless BO is doing something, which they probably are, but still... they'll be late). SpaceX is developing the most objectively cool rocket in the history of spaceflight, and I'm sure that this increased access to space and interplanetary travel will be amazing and have more positives on, well, the entirety of human history than negatives, but still... it would be a monopoly in the end, and that... does really worry me. 

I think this is a conversation that should be had after Mars, though. The innovation here is incredible, and I really wouldn't want to mess with the best chance of getting people to Mars that we've ever seen.

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21 minutes ago, ThatGuyWithALongUsername said:

Unfortunately, they usually seem to be trying to undercut the $50M launch price SpaceX seems to charge for the Falcon 9. SpaceX could easily lower it to $40M or even $30M and still make money.

Exactly. The new launchers wouldn't be a threat because of this (maybe except for New Glenn).

21 minutes ago, ThatGuyWithALongUsername said:

It's getting worryingly close to a monopoly.

But that's really because nobody ever was as quick and successful with reuse as SpaceX is now. I don't think the monopoly is bad when the prices are low but when they only rise (*cough* Boeing *cough*). Elon's goal was always cheap access to space. As long as he doesn't become a Bond villain (seems like he's way too chill for that for now) I'm fine with that. And, realistically, I don't think any monopoly would last too long since there are other companies and agencies working on reusable rockets as we speak.

Besides, IIRC he said he made/wanted to make sure that SpaceX continues its mission even if he dies too soon. I think that says a lot about his mindset. He clearly doesn't want monopoly but actual competition (<- pretty sure he said that too).

Edited by Wjolcz

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The guy in the vid said something to the Blue Origin guy in the room that I noted, but couldn't go back and transcribe as the vid went away. It was noticing him, and saying that BO was working on similar things (in a complementary way), and that SpaceX and BO both had similar visions of the future---it was related to crew flights, he said that SpaceX and Blue both exist to put human beings in space or on other worlds.

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6 minutes ago, Wjolcz said:

Exactly. The new launchers wouldn't be a threat because of this (maybe except for New Glenn).

But that's really because nobody ever was as quick and successful with reuse as SpaceX is now. I don't think the monopoly is bad when the prices are low but when they only rise. Elon's goal was always cheap access to space. As long as he doesn't become a Bond villain (seems like he's way too chill for that for now) I'm fine with that. And, realistically, I don't think any monopoly would last too long since there are other companies and agencies working on reusable rockets as we speak.

Besides, IIRC he said he made/wanted to make sure that SpaceX continues its mission even if he dies too soon. I think that says a lot about his mindset and the mission.

Its an monopoly because you saw an marked and jumped. However its temporary as other can copy it. 
But yes you better start planing second stage reuse now if you want to stay in the launch industry, no first stage reuse is not good enough. 
And some will make an smaller rocket with an reusable second stage. Only way to spin it would be if you made an very cheep dumb second stage there the satellite buss controlled it. 

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Prices will not drop until there is a reason for them to drop (price competition).

BO has stated they plan to price competitively with SpaceX, so NG will be the driver in price setting. Their vehicle seems optimized for large payloads to GTO/GEO for initial commercial launches, and of course they can loft a lot of LEO internet sats, I suppose. Still, they have to undercut SpaceX, and still ideally make money (not that Bezos cares, I suppose). If the cost is indeed 28M$/flight, that's a signal to the competition as to where they need to be aiming.

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Radioactive area? I'm guessing X-rays for checking welds?

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1 hour ago, Wjolcz said:

Radioactive area? I'm guessing X-rays for checking welds?

*cough*DefinitelynotaBondvillian*cough*

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The hangars look like this

Spoiler

6785_d_850.jpg

, not like usual hangars.

6 hours ago, tater said:

Prices will not drop until there is a reason for them to drop (price competition).

Or an anti-monopoly law splitting the rocket manufacturer, launch operator, etc.

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Antitrust law steps in not on the occurrence of a monopoly, but on the abuse of one, at least in theory.  If SpaceX got a monopoly and then told a supplier (say, of payload fairings) to no longer sell to Boeing or ULA, that's when it should kick in.

Does the $28 million reflect SpaceX's all-up launch cost for a new F9, or is it the cost of a launch with a gently-pre-used booster?

Given the likely delays in the manned moon program, SpaceX could just launch all the cargo, facilities, rovers, habitation modules, etc, etc and just leave them there for whenever NASA gets its astronauts there :)  Or, maybe by the time astronauts land, SpaceX will have already engineered, tested, launched, and landed robots that will set everything up for the astronauts.  So the manned lander is a glorified hotel shuttle!

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8 minutes ago, zolotiyeruki said:

So the manned lander is a glorified hotel shuttle!

My bet is that SpaceX will deliver that to the surface too. -_-

..,and the fully-fueled transfer stage...

Edited by CatastrophicFailure

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