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  #21  
Old February 18th 18, 09:03 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Default SpaceX pricing

JF Mezei wrote:

On 2018-02-17 10:03, Fred J. McCall wrote:
As long as there is money in the
budget to support SLS NASA can use some of that money to exercise the
option on the existing contract.


My original assertion was that Congress could kill SLS before NASA goes
to confirm actual order for building of new SSMEs. Your response was
that the money had already been allcated/gartanteed and that NASA would
get the new engines.


I said no such thing. Have you learned a new skill of not being able
to read to go with your usual skill of not being able to remember,
Mayfly?


The text of the press releases confirm that while funding of just over 1
billion was made to allow Rocketdyne to rebuild the tooling, fine tune
contruction to reduce costs and refurb the 16 SSMEs into RL25 engines,
it clearly states that production of totally new engines will be on
separate contract.


Uh, no. Again, learn the difference between a 'new contract' and a
'contract action on an existing contract'.


Think of it as a firm order for 0 engines, with option for 6 more. The
firm order pays for design/improvements/tooling. But to convert the
options, you need a new contract and negitiate price at that point based
on all the cost reductiosn Rocketdyne will have been able to make during
first phase.


No, you don't. If the current contract includes an option for 6
(actually 7) engines you don't need a new contract to exercise that
option. You just need to apply funding to that line.


--
"Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the
truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."
-- Thomas Jefferson
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  #22  
Old February 19th 18, 03:28 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Greg \(Strider\) Moore
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Posts: 572
Default SpaceX pricing

"Jeff Findley" wrote in message
...

In article ,
says...

"Jeff Findley" wrote in message
...

Of course, the Challenger disaster put an end to that practice and
actually made it illegal for NASA to sell commercial launches anymore.
That was the start of opening up the commercial markets in the US.
Unfortunately the USAF decided it wanted control and the original EELV
was born, leaving us with ULA. In other words, the USAF "intervention"
for national security reasons prolonged the practice of the US
Government subsidizing the US launch industry, keeping the real costs
high and actually hurting the US launch industry in the long run.


I'll admit, I initially, naively thought the decision to not allow
commercial flights was a mistake. Now looking back, I think it was the
right
move.
Of course as you say, the original EELV wasn't much of an improvement.

And heck for a while the Titan IV made the shuttle look good


Actually, Titan IV total program costs $17.6B divided by 39 flights
gives us $450 million. Using that same method gives the shuttle a per
flight cost of $1.45 billion. So while many people pointed at Titan IV
as being more expensive than the space shuttle, it wasn't really true.

Cite:

http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/.../99titaniv.pdf


I think we're comparing apples to pears here.

Yes, taking program cost is a valid way of looking at things.

That said, at the time when both were flying the quoted prices for
additional Titan IV costs were routinely quoted higher than what NASA was
quoted for additional shuttle flights.

Again, goes back to the argument that I stand by, that ultimately, the
incremental costs of the shuttle were in fact fairly low. It was pretty much
always the fixed costs that killed it.
With Titan IV, it appears more that the fixed costs were more reasonable,
but the incremental costs were much higher.


One hope I have now is that Falcon Heavy flies enough to convince
Congress to put the nail in the coffin for SLS and redirect that
money elsewhere.


Not likely, yet. I'm sure there is enough inertia to keep it going
until first flight, which is now 3 years away. The next flight will be
crewed (with a new *untested* upper stage) and is 6 years away.


Yeah, I suspect the first flight will still fly. We'll see about the crewed
flight.


Back to economics... The unfortunate thing is that ULA is *still*
receiving a $1 billion a year subsidy each year for "launch readiness".
Thankfully, it will phase out in 2019 and 2020 which will finally level
the playing field. That's the remaining legacy of the US Government
being in charge of the launch vehicle business and it's still not gone.
Ugh.


Agreed


Jeff


--
Greg D. Moore http://greenmountainsoftware.wordpress.com/
CEO QuiCR: Quick, Crowdsourced Responses. http://www.quicr.net
IT Disaster Response -
https://www.amazon.com/Disaster-Resp...dp/1484221834/

  #23  
Old February 20th 18, 12:34 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
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Posts: 1,433
Default SpaceX pricing

In article ,
says...

"Jeff Findley" wrote in message
...

In article ,
says...

"Jeff Findley" wrote in message
...

Of course, the Challenger disaster put an end to that practice and
actually made it illegal for NASA to sell commercial launches anymore.
That was the start of opening up the commercial markets in the US.
Unfortunately the USAF decided it wanted control and the original EELV
was born, leaving us with ULA. In other words, the USAF "intervention"
for national security reasons prolonged the practice of the US
Government subsidizing the US launch industry, keeping the real costs
high and actually hurting the US launch industry in the long run.

I'll admit, I initially, naively thought the decision to not allow
commercial flights was a mistake. Now looking back, I think it was the
right
move.
Of course as you say, the original EELV wasn't much of an improvement.

And heck for a while the Titan IV made the shuttle look good


Actually, Titan IV total program costs $17.6B divided by 39 flights
gives us $450 million. Using that same method gives the shuttle a per
flight cost of $1.45 billion. So while many people pointed at Titan IV
as being more expensive than the space shuttle, it wasn't really true.

Cite:

http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/.../99titaniv.pdf


I think we're comparing apples to pears here.

Yes, taking program cost is a valid way of looking at things.

That said, at the time when both were flying the quoted prices for
additional Titan IV costs were routinely quoted higher than what NASA was
quoted for additional shuttle flights.


That just indicates that NASA had much higher fixed costs with the
shuttle than USAF had with Titan IV. That's damning with faint praise
here.

Again, goes back to the argument that I stand by, that ultimately, the
incremental costs of the shuttle were in fact fairly low. It was pretty much
always the fixed costs that killed it.
With Titan IV, it appears more that the fixed costs were more reasonable,
but the incremental costs were much higher.


The big problem was that you really couldn't add many additional shuttle
flights to the manifest. There was a limit to how fast you could safely
process orbiters, build new external tanks, and refurbish the SRBs and
SSMEs.

The shuttle was a magnificent machine, but it was expensive as hell and
held NASA back with its high fixed costs. If we don't learn these
lessons, we're doomed to repeat them. SLS, unfortunately, looks to have
similar high fixed costs with an even more dismal flight rate (at most
twice per year). It's an absolutely terrible way to spend the
taxpayer's money.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #24  
Old February 21st 18, 08:02 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Posts: 9,422
Default SpaceX pricing

JF Mezei wrote:

On 2018-02-20 06:34, Jeff Findley wrote:

The shuttle was a magnificent machine, but it was expensive as hell and
held NASA back with its high fixed costs.


Considering how SpaceX is revolutionizing pricing by orders of magnitude
because it can re-use stages,


You left out a word. CHEAPLY.


it boggles the mind that the Shuttle
couldn't be competitive.


Not really. The sheer volume of work required to 'reuse' a Shuttle
killed it. That volume of work required a large 'standing army', all
of whom had to be paid (whether you were flying or not).


From a cheap turn-around point of view, where did the shuttle lose? Was
it the cost of turning around SRBs ? new ET for every flights ?
Hypergolics in the orbiter? tiles ? or the SSMEs ?

(if answer is "all" which were substantial?


All but "hypergolics in the orbiter". They didn't reuse SRBs. They
reused CASINGS, which was actually more expensive (2x or more) than if
they had just thrown them away. The tanks ran around $75 million
each, so an external tank cost as much as a Falcon 9. The tiles were
prone to damage and had to be inspected and repaired after every use
(standing army). The SSMEs (part of the orbiter) essentially required
a complete rebuild early in the program (more standing army). That
got somewhat better later in the program, but they were always high
strung engines that pushed performance.


--
"Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar
territory."
--G. Behn
  #25  
Old February 21st 18, 12:04 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
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Posts: 1,433
Default SpaceX pricing

In article ,
says...

On 2018-02-20 06:34, Jeff Findley wrote:

The shuttle was a magnificent machine, but it was expensive as hell and
held NASA back with its high fixed costs.



Considering how SpaceX is revolutionizing pricing by orders of magnitude
because it can re-use stages, it boggles the mind that the Shuttle
couldn't be competitive.


Shuttle was deeply flawed and used as much former Saturn V
infrastructure as possible (i.e. $$$$). Also, shuttle used SRBs which
had to be stripped down and remanufactured, so they weren't really
reusable. The orbiter, in the early years, had its engines pulled after
each and every flight so they could be torn down and inspected, which
isn't reusable. The OMS pods were removed and had to be reinstalled
routinely as well, which isn't reusable. And finally the external tank
was disposable, which is clearly not reusable.

From a cheap turn-around point of view, where did the shuttle lose? Was
it the cost of turning around SRBs ? new ET for every flights ?
Hypergolics in the orbiter? tiles ? or the SSMEs ?


You've actually hit all of the big hitters that I know of, so "All of
the above".

(if answer is "all" which were substantial?


They were all substantial.

Look, you don't get low operating costs unless you design for them. The
shuttle program aimed to keep development costs low due to a pretty much
arbitrary limit which was set for it (by OMB?). They actually did that.
Development costs were actually pretty close to the limit. But they
sacrificed operating costs when doing so. It seemed like every decision
they made did this.

Also, internally, the (German led) team that developed Saturn V was
pretty much pushed to the side. That led to a completely dysfunctional
organization that didn't operate well. Ares and SLS are clear evidence
that this is still the case today.

Jeff
--
All opinions posted by me on Usenet News are mine, and mine alone.
These posts do not reflect the opinions of my family, friends,
employer, or any organization that I am a member of.
  #26  
Old Yesterday, 01:49 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Greg \(Strider\) Moore
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Posts: 572
Default SpaceX pricing

"JF Mezei" wrote in message ...

On 2018-02-20 06:34, Jeff Findley wrote:

The shuttle was a magnificent machine, but it was expensive as hell and
held NASA back with its high fixed costs.



Considering how SpaceX is revolutionizing pricing by orders of magnitude
because it can re-use stages, it boggles the mind that the Shuttle
couldn't be competitive.

From a cheap turn-around point of view, where did the shuttle lose? Was
it the cost of turning around SRBs ? new ET for every flights ?
Hypergolics in the orbiter? tiles ? or the SSMEs ?

(if answer is "all" which were substantial?


Jeff gives a pretty decent answer. It really comes down to:
"It wasn't designed to be cheap to fly. It was designed to be cheap build."

For example, boosters that were liquid fueled and used perhaps the proven
F-1 and could be refurbished at the Cape.
(and probably would have prevented Challenger).
Even if you ignore other factors, not having to ship boosters 2/3rds of the
way across the country and back would save you money.
Instead of landing like the Falcon 9, most likely, they'd have been fly-back
and landed on the shuttle runway.
The ET was probably "cost effective".
Moving away from hypergolics would have had a different effect. One of the
issues with hypergolics is that during any processing you had to basically
lock down the shuttle processing facility. This really screws with your
ability to get work done. Remove that issue and you can process the shuttle
faster. Process faster, means fly faster.

Settle for a lighter/smaller shuttle. This gives you other options for the
heat shield.

Design for better processing of on-board items. Make everything electronic
(and mechanical) easier to remove and services. Adds some mass for
connectors, but again, speeds up processing.

Basically design it so you really CAN refly every 2 weeks. Or even every 4
weeks. With 3 shuttles available, every 4 weeks gives you 36 flights a year
(as opposed to 9-12).
Now, you might still have the same standing army (but my suspicion is if you
had built in reusability from the beginning you could cut that in 1/2.). But
spread over 3x as many flights.

So even if total fixed costs remained the same, you'd be looking at an
incremental cost of about $100M or, if you prefer Jeff's costing over the
cost of the program, under $500M (vs the close to $1.5B/flight).

Basically, THIS is what you want the Orbital Processing Facility to look
like:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critic...singVision.jpg

Not

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critic...singActual.jpg

Basically though, too much politics. This was sort of inevitable given the
way NASA was headed (and partly conceived).

A private investor, like Musk, doesn't need to spread the pork around. He's
going to spend energy on designing the cheapest to fly system he can.
NASA is going to spend energy on making the pork is spread.


--
Greg D. Moore http://greenmountainsoftware.wordpress.com/
CEO QuiCR: Quick, Crowdsourced Responses. http://www.quicr.net
IT Disaster Response -
https://www.amazon.com/Disaster-Resp...dp/1484221834/

  #27  
Old Yesterday, 05:26 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Fred J. McCall[_3_]
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Posts: 9,422
Default SpaceX pricing

"Greg \(Strider\) Moore" wrote:

"JF Mezei" wrote in message ...

On 2018-02-20 06:34, Jeff Findley wrote:

The shuttle was a magnificent machine, but it was expensive as hell and
held NASA back with its high fixed costs.



Considering how SpaceX is revolutionizing pricing by orders of magnitude
because it can re-use stages, it boggles the mind that the Shuttle
couldn't be competitive.

From a cheap turn-around point of view, where did the shuttle lose? Was
it the cost of turning around SRBs ? new ET for every flights ?
Hypergolics in the orbiter? tiles ? or the SSMEs ?

(if answer is "all" which were substantial?


Jeff gives a pretty decent answer. It really comes down to:
"It wasn't designed to be cheap to fly. It was designed to be cheap build."

For example, boosters that were liquid fueled and used perhaps the proven
F-1 and could be refurbished at the Cape.
(and probably would have prevented Challenger).


It probably would have prevented Columbia, too, since the foam
shedding that was the root cause of that accident was primarily
because of the high vibration solid boosters.


--
"Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don't have the balls to
live in the real world."
-- Mary Shafer, NASA Dryden
  #28  
Old Today, 05:45 AM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
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Posts: 2,459
Default SpaceX pricing

On 2/21/2018 11:26 PM, Fred J. McCall wrote:

It probably would have prevented Columbia, too, since the foam
shedding that was the root cause of that accident was primarily
because of the high vibration solid boosters.



That's a very interesting observation I had not considered. You might be
onto something there Fred.

Dave
  #29  
Old Today, 05:49 AM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
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Posts: 2,459
Default SpaceX pricing

On 2/22/2018 11:45 PM, David Spain wrote:
On 2/21/2018 11:26 PM, Fred J. McCall wrote:

It probably would have prevented Columbia, too, since the foam
shedding that was the root cause of that accident was primarily
because of the high vibration solid boosters.



That's a very interesting observation I had not considered. You might be
onto something there Fred.

Dave


OTOH I think we are done with crew vehicles not at the top of the
"stack" for a long time, unless that stack is air-breathing. Avoids this
issue altogether.

Dave
 




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