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Falcon 9 FT 2nd reuse launch - BulgariaSat 1 - LC-39A

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Grendal, May 5, 2017.

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  1. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    #1 Grendal, May 5, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2017
    Just announced. BulgariaSat 1 will be the 2nd reuse flight of a flight proven booster. It is currently the third launch on the flight manifest and scheduled for mid-June.

    Bulgaria’s first communications satellite to ride SpaceX’s second reused rocket – Spaceflight Now

    "BulgariaSat said the spacecraft will lift off with the same Falcon 9 first stage booster that flew Jan. 14 on a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."

    That was the first booster to land on JRTI.

    BulgariaSat 1 is a fairly light GTO satellite that may land on either an ASDS or possibly (but unlikely) do a RTLS based on its light weight.

    BulgariaSat-1 - Wikipedia
     
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  2. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    Step 1 - do it once (done)
    Step 2 - do it again (scheduled)
    Step 3 - make it routine.

    I sure do like the progress against plan :)


    Maybe THEN they can get busy with boiling the ocean.
     
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  3. macpacheco

    macpacheco Member

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    After the 3rd reflight, the pace will accelerate. Looking forward to the 3rd reflight being announced (and actually taking place).
    I think it will be great if all of those reflight deals of Block III boosters are expendable. Those are much harder to refurb, have less performance, just a stepping stone to Block IV/V.
    And customers love to get their birds closer to GEO without expending their valuable station keeping fuel.
     
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  4. dkemme

    dkemme Member

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    I edited the wiki page to say flight proven instead of reused first stage.
     
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  5. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    #5 Grendal, May 6, 2017
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
    This will be an easy recovery. The satellite is fairly light for a GTO launch. Because of that I am fairly certain this will be the first 2nd reuse booster.

    It is speculated that SpaceX is already at Block IV. There is some evidence that changes have been made to the Block III. One of the obvious changes is improvements to the fire protection. It used to be that a returned booster would have a fire going on at the base for a few minutes after landing. Lately those are completely extinguished within seconds after landing. Since Block IV is just a transitional phase between III and V, it makes sense that SpaceX has already made some of those transitional changes.
     
  6. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    Is that "doubly flight proven"?? :p
     
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  7. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Flight Proven Extreme.
    Flight Proven Vol. 2 (since GOTG just came out)
    Flight Proven: SpaceX Strikes Back
    Beyond Flight Proven
    Ultimate Flight Proven
    Totally Flight Proven, For Sure Dude.
     
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  8. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Flight Proven: Maximum Plaid
     
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  9. Pricee2

    Pricee2 Member

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    C P F

    Certified Pre Flown
     
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  10. Ben W

    Ben W P85 #61, Roadster #108

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    C P O

    Certified Pre Orbited
     
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  11. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    Quality Tested?

    QA'd (Quality Assured)


    I imagine in a few years, SpaceX might be good enough at this return business that first flights for a rocket will carry "low" value payloads or even no payload, as that'll be the QA flight.

    Sort of how new planes have their first flight(s) with nobody extra on board other than the pilot. Can you imagine the thrill of showing up at the airport, and finding out that your plane has never been in the air before? This is the mental model SpaceX has started hinting at, or at least that I'm seeing, in their public comments.
     
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  12. e-FTW

    e-FTW New electron smell

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    I love that this is slowly closing the window down between use and re-use. 6 months is still a long time, but headlines will be able to say "a few months" and "earlier this year ".
     
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  13. Brovane

    Brovane Member

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    I would put forth that the time frame between launch and re-use is not currently set by technical challenges around making the booster ready for flight again. It is being set by customers willingness to fly on a flight proven booster. Once customers become more comfortable with flying on flight-proven hardware, we will see eventually the time frame become closer to the point of what is technically feasible.
     
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  14. bxr140

    bxr140 Member

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    Disagree. It is explicitly the technical challenges for re-flight that dictate the timeframe, and it is explicitly SpaceX's willingness to refly a booster that dictates the timeframe. They know that any failure of a re-used booster would set the concept of re-use back years (or more).

    Customers don't care. They want a cheap ride to get their thing into space.
     
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  15. macpacheco

    macpacheco Member

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    Its not by accident the only two boosters reflown/set to be reflown were LEO launches.
    Although SpaceX demostrated nearly 10 full duration mission burns on the booster that landed in the worst shape, customers are still not comfortable of flying on those boosters that had minimal re-entry burns and kamikaze landing burns.
    So far it does seem 100% psychological rather than evidence based. We'll know once SpaceX starts reflying the boosters that landed in worse shape.
    I surely trust SpaceX's word rather than far, far less technical customers assessments.
    At the same time, SpaceX can re-enter/land even GTO launch boosters much more gently with a little more fuel reserves, which is one of the main benefits of the Block V upgrades, assuming the extra performance never goes to higher energy launches and the really heavy launches (like current 6+ tons GTO launches) go to FH reusable.

    For the SES-10 launch, SpaceX openly admitted they over did the refurb, replacing nearly everything short of the really expensive engines and the main rocket skin. That was not a technical requirement, but rather to please the customer (apparently).

    Once SpaceX accomplishes its 3rd successful reflight in a row (fingers crossed), and customers start being less picky about the booster to be reflown and refurb standards we'll get the true confirmation.
     
  16. bxr140

    bxr140 Member

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    Of course its no accident! It was Spacex doing their diligence to ease into the concept of rocket reuse. It was spacex doing their diligence to 'over do the refub' of those vehicles to make sure their calculations/predictions matched reality. (You tour SpaceX, for instance, and they're VERY proud to point out the re-entry burns on the dragon capsule exactly match predictions--seriously, I had 3 people point it out to me in like 15 minutes)

    SpaceX has FAR more to lose than any one customer when it comes to failure of a re-used vehicle. Make no mistake, it is spacex that is driving the scope and duration for re-launch.

    I don't mean to out-space you or anything, but that's not the way business is actually conducted in the space industry. Typically customers are very technically saavy--especially about launch vehicles since they typically launch on multiple rockets. When they challenge a contract manufacturer its typically because a) they have a valid technical point, or b) they're looking for confidence that their CM actually has a grasp of a technical point. SES specifically is renown for this and, IMHO, are probably some of the most if not the most technically competent customers.

    SES also was one of the first commercial customers to sign up for a then-untested falcon 9, and IIRC, they were actually the first commercial customer to actually fly on a Falcon (at least as the prime?). If that doesn't illustrate their specific willingness to dive into future tech, I don't know waht does.

    Again, customers just want a cheap ride. They're clamoring for reused falcons because they're cheaper.
     
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  17. macpacheco

    macpacheco Member

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    #17 macpacheco, May 15, 2017
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
    The words of SES CTO didn't left me with that impression. He clearly stated they did their due diligence but implied other satellite operators aren't as technical.
    Surely SES, Iridium, Intelsat, Inmarsat and pretty much every other big satellite operator surely has the technical insight to understand things.
    But, where big decisions are taken, at the BOARD level, often times all that matters is if there are technical reasons against doing something, then its listened to, but when there are no technical reasons, the BOARD often still goes against doing something brand new.
    This isn't the first, second or even third time where the vast majority of customers don't want to be first or second with SpaceX. This applies to the first F9 Block I launch, F9 Block II, F9 Block III and F9 return to flight this year.
    If technical considerations were everything, customers wouldn't be so skeptical of being first and second in some way. Even NASA with all of their technical expertise (much, much, much more than any satellite operator) often demands not being the first to ride on a SpaceX rocket with complex modifications !

    Furthermore, there's a well documented fact. When a CEO saves his company US$ 100 million, and then looses US$ 100 million on a mistake, the two don't cancel each other. Failures are punished disproportionally !
     
  18. bxr140

    bxr140 Member

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    Of course an operator is going to fluff themselves up in context to other operators. In the end, all operators all know what's going on to some deep technical degree; it's really company personality driven on the nuanced ways customers interact with their CMs. Some are more involved up front, some let the CM take the reigns early, etc.

    At the risk of crossing the line on this one, I have personal experience with Halliwell. There's a reason he's CTO.

    Don't conflate the situation. Customers of course want confidence that their asset is in good hands, and it's up to spacex to provide that confidence when it comes to launch. It's also known that spacex can sometimes be less than accommodating when it comes to customer interaction, so of course there's going to be tension. But...citing that interaction (or lack thereof) as customer FUD is analogous to saying congress is FUDding over a topic because they're [actually] debating a topic. That's not a bump in the road, that's how it works.

    Finally, don't conflate customers with the insurance community. They are definitely less technical and definitely more skeptical of pretty much anything under the sun.
     
  19. MacGreiner

    MacGreiner Member

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    Any clarity whether this will be ASDS or RTLS yet?
     
  20. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Nothing official yet. However, the informed enthusiast sites are saying that this will be an ASDS on OCISLY.

    This will also be the first multi-coast flight proven and multi-ASDS landed booster! It will also, very likely, be the first booster to launch for the third time at some future time.
     
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