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"Third Time" by John Varley
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Lynn McGuire
2018-12-04 20:47:49 UTC
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"Third Time" by John Varley
https://varley.net/nonfiction/varleylog/third-time/

"At 10:34 AM yesterday a SpaceX rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, where we watched several launches when we lived on the
Central Coast of California. It was a Falcon 9 rocket that had already
been used (twice!) and it was about as perfect as a rocket launch and
landing could be. There were 64 satellites aboard, most of them about
the size of a microwave oven. The first stage landed on the floating
barge as lightly as a butterfly. (Well, if a butterfly was 180 feet tall
and spouting fire out its ass, anyway.) The videos from this launch were
the best ever. You can see the first stage re-entering the atmosphere
and landing on the barge."

"Since Sputnik and Explorer 1, our exploration of space has consisted of
dropping multi-million-dollar rockets into the ocean. It has been clear
to me for a long time that we well never get very far into space if we
use our rockets once. It’s hideously expensive, and just plain crazy.
Our goal must be 100% re-usability. Elon Musk has taken the first steps."

We are living in awesome times.

Lynn
Robert Carnegie
2018-12-05 00:28:51 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
"Third Time" by John Varley
https://varley.net/nonfiction/varleylog/third-time/
"At 10:34 AM yesterday a SpaceX rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, where we watched several launches when we lived on the
Central Coast of California. It was a Falcon 9 rocket that had already
been used (twice!) and it was about as perfect as a rocket launch and
landing could be. There were 64 satellites aboard, most of them about
the size of a microwave oven. The first stage landed on the floating
barge as lightly as a butterfly. (Well, if a butterfly was 180 feet tall
and spouting fire out its ass, anyway.) The videos from this launch were
the best ever. You can see the first stage re-entering the atmosphere
and landing on the barge."
"Since Sputnik and Explorer 1, our exploration of space has consisted of
dropping multi-million-dollar rockets into the ocean. It has been clear
to me for a long time that we well never get very far into space if we
use our rockets once. It’s hideously expensive, and just plain crazy.
Our goal must be 100% re-usability. Elon Musk has taken the first steps."
We are living in awesome times.
I'm not sure why I'm reminded of this, but at the weekend I bought
a reprint of a 1970s Marvel "What If" comic which showed some
alternate universe 1950s heroes forming as "The Avengers" earlier,
obviously, than the "real" Avengers did, and unless I misread it,
a moral was drawn from Sputnik, messenger of peace if that's how
you look at it, still orbiting the Earth twenty years later...

But unfortunately, according to Wikipedia it wasn't; it was brought
down to earth by an atmospheric drag, within a year (?)

Oh, well. Sic transit gloria... celestiae? Something.
Thomas Koenig
2018-12-09 19:22:27 UTC
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Post by Lynn McGuire
"Since Sputnik and Explorer 1, our exploration of space has consisted of
dropping multi-million-dollar rockets into the ocean. It has been clear
to me for a long time that we well never get very far into space if we
use our rockets once. It’s hideously expensive, and just plain crazy.
Our goal must be 100% re-usability. Elon Musk has taken the first steps."
Hm... I seem to remember there was some kind of spaceship that looked
a bit like an aeroplane and glided down to re-use. I saw something
like that when I visited Houston recently.

Ah, now I remember - the Space Shuttle!

Still hideously expensive, though.
J. Clarke
2018-12-09 19:39:48 UTC
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On Sun, 9 Dec 2018 19:22:27 -0000 (UTC), Thomas Koenig
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by Lynn McGuire
"Since Sputnik and Explorer 1, our exploration of space has consisted of
dropping multi-million-dollar rockets into the ocean. It has been clear
to me for a long time that we well never get very far into space if we
use our rockets once. It’s hideously expensive, and just plain crazy.
Our goal must be 100% re-usability. Elon Musk has taken the first steps."
Hm... I seem to remember there was some kind of spaceship that looked
a bit like an aeroplane and glided down to re-use. I saw something
like that when I visited Houston recently.
Ah, now I remember - the Space Shuttle!
Still hideously expensive, though.
Most of it was thrown away in any case. The SRBs were recovered but
it cost about the same to recover and refurbish them as it would have
to build them from scratch. Further, the orbiter was struggling to
reach an altitude at which a stable orbit could be established.
Greg Goss
2018-12-09 23:33:56 UTC
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Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by Lynn McGuire
"Since Sputnik and Explorer 1, our exploration of space has consisted of
dropping multi-million-dollar rockets into the ocean. It has been clear
to me for a long time that we well never get very far into space if we
use our rockets once. It’s hideously expensive, and just plain crazy.
Our goal must be 100% re-usability. Elon Musk has taken the first steps."
Hm... I seem to remember there was some kind of spaceship that looked
a bit like an aeroplane and glided down to re-use. I saw something
like that when I visited Houston recently.
Ah, now I remember - the Space Shuttle!
Still hideously expensive, though.
It turned out to be "rebuildable" rather than "reusable". Took a lot
of work between flights. I don't know how much goes into refurbishing
a Falcon stage.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Lynn McGuire
2018-12-10 06:03:13 UTC
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Post by Greg Goss
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by Lynn McGuire
"Since Sputnik and Explorer 1, our exploration of space has consisted of
dropping multi-million-dollar rockets into the ocean. It has been clear
to me for a long time that we well never get very far into space if we
use our rockets once. It’s hideously expensive, and just plain crazy.
Our goal must be 100% re-usability. Elon Musk has taken the first steps."
Hm... I seem to remember there was some kind of spaceship that looked
a bit like an aeroplane and glided down to re-use. I saw something
like that when I visited Houston recently.
Ah, now I remember - the Space Shuttle!
Still hideously expensive, though.
It turned out to be "rebuildable" rather than "reusable". Took a lot
of work between flights. I don't know how much goes into refurbishing
a Falcon stage.
My understanding is inspections only for the Falcon.

Lynn
Torbjorn Lindgren
2018-12-10 17:41:52 UTC
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Post by Thomas Koenig
Hm... I seem to remember there was some kind of spaceship that looked
a bit like an aeroplane and glided down to re-use. I saw something
like that when I visited Houston recently.
Ah, now I remember - the Space Shuttle!
Still hideously expensive, though.
It turned out to be "rebuildable" rather than "reusable". Took a lot
of work between flights.
Yeah, most of the Shuttle was probably best classified as
"rebuildable" even if they did make some progress in moving it from
insane levels of rebuild to merely very extensive rebuild.

The SRB on the other hand barely makes it into "rebuildable",
especially given that it would have been cheaper to just throw them
away and build new ones each time!
I don't know how much goes into refurbishing a Falcon stage.
The details has not been published but obviously it's greatly
dependendant on which block it is.

Block 3/4 boosters was flown at most twice, with significant
refurbishment though by repute nothing like the Space Shuttle.
Scuttlebut suggest it cost "much less than 30% of a new first stage",
probably would go down a lot further if they've kept it up but it was
mainly to get data for the Block 5 design.

The goal for Block 5 boosters is 10 flights with just inspection (no
replacement unless something unexpected is found), and refurbishment
every 10 launches to restart the cycle. Another goal is that should be
possible to the regular inspection AND attaching the new payload (a
multi-hour process in itself!) in 24 hours if necessary (possible
doesn't mean it would be a normal procedure).

So, that's the GOALS but it would be foolhardy to not do more
inspections than this on the early boosters, they got a lot of data
from Block 4 but they still need to verify all the changes they did
and also what further use will result in.

IE, all early birds and especially the flight leaders will get more
thorough inspections, based on timing we know they're a lot faster
than block 4 refurbishment even for those which tends to suggests
they're probably much cheaper too, my guess is that's probably in the
10-15% range now and still decreasing.

SpaceX hopes to demonstrate a 24-hour turnaround during 2019, consider
Elon-time that probably means H1 2020... I suspect they'll do it using
a booster with relatively low number of earlier uses since the
front-runnes will always get extra attention.

24-hour turnarounds likely will require lots of planning and a "all
hands on deck" effort, but the real point is how little refurbishment
SpaceX needs which has huge cost implications to everyone else. It
will demonstrate that even the new rockets on the drawing boards are
already obsolete! with the lone exception of New Glenn...

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/wiki/cores
https://spacenews.com/spacex-targeting-24-hour-turnaround-in-2019-full-reusability-still-in-the-works/
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