SpaceX's refurbished Falcon 9 costs 50% less than a new rocket

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by Teslarati Bot, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. Teslarati Bot

    Teslarati Bot New Member

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    #1 Teslarati Bot, Apr 6, 2017
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    SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell shared at the 33rd U.S. Space Symposium that the company spent “substantially less than half” the cost of a new first stage Falcon 9 booster during last week’s historic flight. The cost savings were realized even after factoring in the amount of examination that went into the refurbishing of the rocket. “We did way more on this one than we’re doing on future ones, of course,” said Shotwell.

    The strategy to reuse Stage 1 rocket boosters is foundational to maintaining cost advantages over industry incumbents like the United Launch Alliance which has recently began to cut costs to stay competitive with SpaceX. SpaceX also sees reusability as a key factor for achieving more frequent launches.

    “Looking forward for reusability, we don’t believe it really, really counts unless you can turn it around rapidly, or almost as rapidly, as you turn around an aircraft,” Shotwell said April 5th, 2017 at the Space Symposium. “Our challenge right now is to re-fly a rocket within 24 hours. That’s when we’ll really feel like we’ve got reusability right.”

    The first stage of a rocket traditionally makes up 75 to 80 percent of the total cost so being able to reuse a Falcon 9 booster is a massive step towards the cost reduction in space travel. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has drawn comparisons in the past, saying that the cost of flying from Los Angeles to New York would be much higher if the plane had to be thrown away after each flight.

    Reusability has not come cheap for the young space company. Musk estimated in the press conference following the successful March 30th SES-10 launch that the company had spent at least $1 billion on reusability efforts to date. The serial tech entrepreneur also made comments about exploring the possibility of recovering the 4-piece fairing that covers the rocket payload which is to be sent into space. The payload fairing costs $6 million and while not the largest savings opportunity in a flight, represents an opportunity for the company to further reduce costs. As Musk put it in the SES-10 post launch press conference, “at one point we were debating if we should try to recover it or not. Imagine if you had $6 million in cash in a pallet flying through the air, and it was going to smash into the ocean. Would you try to recover that? Yes, yes you would.”

    Source: Space News

    Article: SpaceX's refurbished Falcon 9 costs 50% less than a new rocket
     
  2. J.Taylor

    J.Taylor Active Member

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    A rocket turn around in 24 hours seems a bit overly ambitious to me, but Musk likes to set unrealistic goals then does his best to meet them. Somehow he has an unexpectedly good success rate.
    My benchmark as a “next milestone” is to see one relaunched in a month or less. I'm betting this happens within one year.
     
  3. JRDM

    JRDM New Member

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    How does “substantially less than half” become "50% less" for a headline? That's just weak.
     
  4. JRDM

    JRDM New Member

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    I'm not sure if the Cape's range equipment is set up to operate at that pace anyway. That's probably part of why they're hoping to operate from McGregor.
     
  5. DaveBG

    DaveBG New Member

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    Amazing stuff. Private company doing things that government subsidized agencies could not do.
     
  6. rabe0070

    rabe0070 New Member

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    The goal is 24 hour turn around time to prove it's efficient and cheap to do. I don't think they will launch a rocket 24 hours after the first until BFR and ITS.
     
  7. brando

    brando New Member

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    bfr ?? its ??

    side note: now with cubesat, it should get very interesting. google search
     
  8. JRDM

    JRDM New Member

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    Big F*cking Rocket, now part of what is called Interplanetary Transport System.
     
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  9. J. L. Brown

    J. L. Brown New Member

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    Big Falcon Rocket was the acronym that I heard; now just the booster stage of the Interplanetary Transport System.
     
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  10. JRDM

    JRDM New Member

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    The other one stuck with me. They go both ways. I haven't seen any solid information on what it means to Musk or within SpaceX.
     
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  11. J. L. Brown

    J. L. Brown New Member

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    And I think the one that stuck with you is the original, with BFalconR being the official 'polite' version.
     

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