TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC
Start a Discussionhttps://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/tags/

New Concept - ITS Workhorse

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by sjoshuaj, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. sjoshuaj

    sjoshuaj Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    65
    An idea to replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy and bring full reusability to satellite launches, ISS cargo / people deliveries and so much more. =-)
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like x 3
    • Helpful x 1
    • Informative x 1
  2. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,203
    Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Interesting idea. I'm sure it's one that SpaceX people have considered. Implementation of such a thing would be to have a real customer have demand for it. With ITS, for now, the customer is SpaceX and their plans to colonize Mars. So they are building the vehicle to their specification and needs for their endeavor. The Space Shuttle had the US Government and others with the task of building the ISS. Let's say the government decides to replace the ISS with something else and they need a super heavy lifter to do it then there would be a customer for your idea. Or, they see the ITS booster and second stage in action and design something to work within its parameters that they want to put up there. For now though, nothing exists or is on paper that would need such a vehicle. It is common for designers to plan their designs around the abilities of the transport vehicle. So if SpaceX has clear indication of a vehicle being built then I could see a customer showing up to take advantage of the new platform.
     
  3. sjoshuaj

    sjoshuaj Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    65
    According to SpaceX’s own data the ITS booster can launch for 11 million and the ITS Tanker, their reusable second stage, can launch for 8 million. Let’s assume the cost of what I’m proposing for the second stage is more expensive per launch at say 16 million. That’s still only 27 million per launch. This is less than half the price of a falcon 9 launch at 62 million and under two thirds the price of a falcon heavy launch at 90 million. Even when you take into account future reusability the falcon 9 and falcon heavy will continue to be more expensive because in both cases their second stage is not reusable(and probably never will be). The numbers get even more compelling when you consider that with what I’m proposing you can deliver multiple large payloads at the same time vs. one with the F-9 and F-Heavy.

    SpaceX loves to save money by testing out their experimental hardware on customer paid launches. Why not continue that tradition by first creating what I'm proposing, make the ITS booster and ITS "Workhorse" first for paid LEO and GTO customers and then use that knowledge and sunk R&D to create the ITS Tanker and ITS Spaceship for their future mars missions.

    But, like you said, they may have already considered this course of action. Only time will tell.
     
  4. jkn

    jkn Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    EU
    Developing reusable second stage will not be easy. Probably they will have many failures, before success. If 2. stage delivers satellite to orbit and then fails to land, there are no large losses.

    It is not a good idea to transport satellites as a cargo with crew. Rocket fuel makes very large explosion.
     
  5. Ludus

    Ludus Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    340
    Location:
    Michigan
    #5 Ludus, Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
    • Informative x 1
  6. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    13,008
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    I am halfway through reading that Purdue Engineering paper. I am not an aeronautical engineer and cannot properly evaluate their calculations. But from a layperson's perspective, I am not yet convinced that their cycler concept is superior to what SpaceX has proposed with the ITS. Their cycler concept seems far more complex; it requires the cycler vehicle to be assembled in orbit, a greater variety of vehicles built, and a lot of transfers of people between vehicles while in orbit around Earth and Mar. The SpaceX plan is much simpler. Of course the ITS plan is still incredibly challenging. Clearly Elon does not believe the cycler concept is the best approach.

    Reading the Purdue paper I am amazed at the number of typos and poorly constructed sentences. Apparently they are not aware of the desirability of having someone proofread it.
     
    • Like x 1
  7. dkemme

    dkemme Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2016
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    Greeley, CO
    I'm struggling understanding the cyclers orbits, two times around earth for every time to mars, will this require a lot of fuel?

    Fig. 5.2.1.2.1
     
  8. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,203
    Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Elon definitely knows the cycler concept. It's what is used in "The Martian" book and movie. He and his team of experts must have done a lot of thinking about what their Mars colonization strategy would be and judged their system as superior to the cycler system. It makes sense too. SpaceX is creating the concept of reuse that has never existed before. Reuse is what makes ITS work. If you didn't have it then the cycler system would probably be a better strategy. I'm pretty sure that SpaceX went with ITS because of the amount of people and payload they want to be transferring as well. The cycler is fine for small numbers of people and tiny payloads. Elon probably told his team he wanted to move 1 million pounds at a time. With that number you get ITS.
     
  9. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    13,008
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    That is my non-expert view as well. But somehow the Purdue University engineering student project came to a different conclusion. And they assumed a lot of vehicle reuse. See https://engineering.purdue.edu/AAECourses/aae450/2017/spring/docs/AAE%20450-Project%20Destiny.pdf . I'm only partway through their analysis, and much of it is over my head, but if I had to bet I would put my money not the SpaceX approach. I'm not terribly worried that Elon's team is going down the wrong path!
     
  10. jkn

    jkn Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    EU
    Travel between Earth and Mars does not consume any fuel! Changing speed does. First accelerate from Earth to transfer orbit then from transfer orbit to Mars. Cycler stays in transfer orbit, so it does not use fuel except for steering. Finding a transfer orbit that is in sync with Earth and Mars is difficult.

    I don't know why Elon dislikes cycler. It does not change speed, so it can have heavy radiation shield. So travelers avoid a lot of radiation.
     
  11. sjoshuaj

    sjoshuaj Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    65
    Well, I just saw Elon's presentation at IAC on 9/29. Have to say I'm loving the new direction. I can't help but wonder if he saw my Workhorse mockup or perhaps one of his advisors. It's almost point for point the exact same thing, right down to using the revised ITS to retrieve space junk and retire old satellites.
     
  12. jdevo2004

    jdevo2004 Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    Messages:
    208
  13. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    13,008
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    @sjoshuaj kudos to you for original thinking way back in April! Seriously, you pretty much nailed it. I'm impressed! So, what is your next SpaceX prediction? ;)
     
    • Like x 1
  14. sjoshuaj

    sjoshuaj Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    65
    Ok, and I think I'm not the first to say this, but I think another reason for the revised ITS is so that SpaceX can now go public with an IPO. Elon has made the design more earth centric and practical. Something that would now appeal to investors. I think SpaceX needs a very large infusion of capital in order to make the ITS as well as it's other low earth orbit satellites (totaling 4425) venture. And yes I know about Google's and Fidelity's initial investment. It's not enough. Just like with Tesla, Elon knows you get to a certain size and maturity as a company, then you need to go public in order to rapidly grow it to where it needs to be. Mars can still happen as either a money losing R&D department within SpaceX or as a totally separate private company that then contracts with SpaceX to use a modified version of the new ITS design. How's that? :D
     
    • Like x 2
    • Helpful x 1
  15. jkn

    jkn Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    EU
    No, you are not first:
    Space X vs. the Establishment - ULA, US Air Force, etc.

    But MarsX is an interesting idea!
     
  16. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,203
    Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    #16 Grendal, Oct 6, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    I still don't see SpaceX going public. Elon hates Tesla being public. It has made him rich, but it gives him stress and headaches he doesn't need. He is already well aware of how making SpaceX public would interfere with what he is trying to do with SpaceX. No investor in their right mind would support plans to colonize Mars. It's just not a money making venture. Elon wants to make the ticket price to Mars as low as possible. He isn't planning on making a profit from the colonists.

    What I could see is Elon creating a separate publicly owned company for Earth to Earth (E2E) transport that buys BFR/BFS's from SpaceX. That way he could separate one entity from the other. SpaceX makes profits from selling rockets and spacecraft while building their own fleet of rockets for colonization. It creates a layer that if the E2E transport system fails then it won't kill SpaceX.

    Boeing makes planes but sells them to the various airlines. It makes more sense if SpaceX makes the rockets then sells them to another entity selling the E2E transport.
     
  17. jkn

    jkn Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    EU
    If they can earn money needed for BFR development with F9, they don't go public. SpaceX has best reuse tech now. Others will catch up, if SpaceX development slows. Elon does not want to waste time. If they need investors money, best way is to announce money wasting Mars plan before IPO.
     
  18. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    2,371
    Location:
    Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
    I often think about what I'd do if I ran Tesla during a period in which it made excess money; on my short list, right after massive growth, is buying back being public and going private. I play with the buyback price; somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000 per share would do it, after attempts at buying back as much stock as possible quietly on the open and dark markets for lower prices over a moderate period of time. I'd also get rid of non-Tesla goal oriented directors (such as those recently appointed to appease government employee retirement plan funds, which I assume are in pocket of old establishment impedimentarians and destructionists).
    Unless they're selling massive plots of land, minerals, alternate nation legal frameworks, etc. Huge real estate opportunity, growth environments. But I see your point: colonization has outlandish costs compared to widget making.
    That definitely makes sense: they're already going to be competing with virtual transport as well as old forms of transit (airplane, car, train, boat).
     
    • Like x 1

Share This Page