A Space & astronomy forum. SpaceBanter.com

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Go Back   Home » SpaceBanter.com forum » Space Science » Policy
Site Map Home Authors List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Web Partners

Starship fuel costs



 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old January 25th 20, 03:01 AM posted to sci.space.policy
Alain Fournier[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 416
Default Starship fuel costs

A few months ago we talked about whether time to start optimising for
fuel consumption is near. (The "A conversation with Elon Musk" thread in
October)

I found the following bit of information on
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Starship
"In November 2019 Elon Musk estimated that fuel will cost $900,000 per
launch and total launch costs could drop as low as $2 million".

So assuming that Starship does live up to Elon's estimate (which I think
is doubtful, but still a good ballpark figure), fuel costs could soon be
45% of total launch costs.

Of course, to lower the cost of access to space right now, the important
thing is to get rockets to be fully reusable and get total launch costs
around $20 per kg. But it seems that this will be done soon. Once it is
done, I think the 45% fuel costs will seem as a good place to reduce
costs further.


Alain Fournier
Ads
  #2  
Old January 25th 20, 06:38 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,060
Default Starship fuel costs

In article , says...

A few months ago we talked about whether time to start optimising for
fuel consumption is near. (The "A conversation with Elon Musk" thread in
October)

I found the following bit of information on
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Starship
"In November 2019 Elon Musk estimated that fuel will cost $900,000 per
launch and total launch costs could drop as low as $2 million".

So assuming that Starship does live up to Elon's estimate (which I think
is doubtful, but still a good ballpark figure), fuel costs could soon be
45% of total launch costs.

Of course, to lower the cost of access to space right now, the important
thing is to get rockets to be fully reusable and get total launch costs
around $20 per kg. But it seems that this will be done soon. Once it is
done, I think the 45% fuel costs will seem as a good place to reduce
costs further.


Elon's vision for Starship is to use Tesla solar as power for the same
Sabatier reaction that they plan to use on Mars to convert CO2 (from the
atmosphere) and H2O into O2 and CH4 (methane). In that way, Starship
propellant production would be completely carbon neutral. This is
important to him since he plans on Starship being capable of being
launched three times per day (no doubt most of those launches would be
tankers to refuel Starships in LEO).

How does this figure into costs? I'm not sure. There would certainly
be a capital investment for all that solar power, but once it's up and
running, SpaceX would not be beholden to paying for grid power anymore.

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.
  #3  
Old February 2nd 20, 04:17 PM posted to sci.space.policy
David Spain
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,611
Default Starship fuel costs

On 2020-01-25 12:38 PM, Jeff Findley wrote:


Elon's vision for Starship is to use Tesla solar as power for the same
Sabatier reaction that they plan to use on Mars to convert CO2 (from the
atmosphere) and H2O into O2 and CH4 (methane). In that way, Starship
propellant production would be completely carbon neutral. This is
important to him since he plans on Starship being capable of being
launched three times per day (no doubt most of those launches would be
tankers to refuel Starships in LEO).


I don't want to get into the weeds about carbon, but to call it carbon
neutral you need to take into account the carbon that was consumed
mining the elements and other processes used to manufacture those solar
panels. All of that would need to be offset by the savings over launch
with a traditional hydrocarbon fuel like kerosene along with the carbon
emitted when those solar cells are eventually disposed of at the end of
life, before the sheet balances. And given enough time it would. However
you have to realize it is not enough to have a net carbon zero process
to claim you are carbon neutral. The only way to reach that is if you
balance it off against the *potential* emission of carbon had you not
used the solar driven Sabatier process for fuel generation. Otherwise it
will still not be *net* zero. It also assumes a certain amount of time
of operation. If it's not in operation long enough the offset will not
get you to net zero either.

But strictly from an economics standpoint I agree with the point you
raise and that Elon makes. That being able to generate your own fuel via
solar is an essential cost savings if you want to have frequent launch
operations (and don't forget across multiple sites). Not having to
transport fuel and oxidizer to all those sites as opposed to being able
to generate fuel locally is another significant ongoing cost consideration.

Dave
  #4  
Old February 2nd 20, 04:35 PM posted to sci.space.policy
Jeff Findley[_6_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,060
Default Starship fuel costs

In article , says...

On 2020-01-25 12:38 PM, Jeff Findley wrote:


Elon's vision for Starship is to use Tesla solar as power for the same
Sabatier reaction that they plan to use on Mars to convert CO2 (from the
atmosphere) and H2O into O2 and CH4 (methane). In that way, Starship
propellant production would be completely carbon neutral. This is
important to him since he plans on Starship being capable of being
launched three times per day (no doubt most of those launches would be
tankers to refuel Starships in LEO).


I don't want to get into the weeds about carbon, but to call it carbon
neutral you need to take into account the carbon that was consumed
mining the elements and other processes used to manufacture those solar
panels. All of that would need to be offset by the savings over launch
with a traditional hydrocarbon fuel like kerosene along with the carbon
emitted when those solar cells are eventually disposed of at the end of
life, before the sheet balances. And given enough time it would. However
you have to realize it is not enough to have a net carbon zero process
to claim you are carbon neutral. The only way to reach that is if you
balance it off against the *potential* emission of carbon had you not
used the solar driven Sabatier process for fuel generation. Otherwise it
will still not be *net* zero. It also assumes a certain amount of time
of operation. If it's not in operation long enough the offset will not
get you to net zero either.


Which is why I said, "Starship propellant production would be completely
carbon neutral". The manufacturing of Starship, or any other launch
vehicle for that matter, would certainly not be carbon neutral. So, I'm
not going to attempt to hold them to a higher standard than what they,
or any other launch company, can currently achieve.

Right now, the methane for the Raptors comes from the currently
plentiful natural gas pulled from domestic wells. But, since natural
gas wells on Mars seems more than a bit a bit far fetched, SpaceX will
have to make due with manufacturing their own methane and oxygen on
Mars. Might as well get started on that here on earth so the processes
can be optimized.

But strictly from an economics standpoint I agree with the point you
raise and that Elon makes. That being able to generate your own fuel via
solar is an essential cost savings if you want to have frequent launch
operations (and don't forget across multiple sites). Not having to
transport fuel and oxidizer to all those sites as opposed to being able
to generate fuel locally is another significant ongoing cost consideration.


Agreed. With the launch rate that Elon is planning, he simply won't
want to continue to depend on outside sources for propellant.

Vertical integration is one aspect of Musk's companies that helps to
drive down costs in the long run. This is quite the opposite of
traditional aerospace and automotive manufacturers who have spent
decades outsourcing as much as they can. This leaves some of them in a
position to not have a ready supply of things like state of the art
rechargeable batteries or low cost liquid fueled rocket engines. That
will become their downfall unless their suppliers can deliver on cost,
reliability, and quantify.

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.
 




Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Starship Fuel from the Outer System [Gas mining operation onUranus] Dbdblocker Astronomy Misc 0 June 3rd 11 09:57 PM
Fixed costs dominate launch costs Jeff Findley Policy 7 March 6th 07 11:40 PM
Costs of Shuttle Fuel Rhonda Lea Kirk Space Shuttle 4 February 21st 05 12:30 PM
Three times fuel costs. Andrew Gray Policy 1 August 5th 04 10:24 PM
Fuel costs Peter Fairbrother Policy 60 June 27th 04 12:10 AM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004-2020 SpaceBanter.com.
The comments are property of their posters.