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SpaceX (general discussion)

fredymac

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As CEO, for Musk to make claims, he subjects himself to legal actions for making false statements.
No he's not 'legally liable' for his statements even in his capactiy as CEO unless he makes an offical statement of work or capability. Tossing off statements and making press releases doesn't count.
Note that whether he is making official statements is not the dividing line between illegal and legal. The line is that he is not allowed to knowingly make false statements to investors. He can lie all he wants to random people on the internet without it being a legal problem. For CEOs of public companies, making false statements to investors is pretty much equal to making false statements to anyone at all, which is why he got in such trouble for the Tesla "funding secured" tweet. However, SpaceX is a private company, not a public one, and so long as he keeps the stockholders of it well informed through some private channel he can publicly say pretty much whatever he wants about SpaceX without it being a problem.
So that's why I couldn't find a Spacex stockholder annual report. Given how everything leaks, I'm a bit surprised Spacex investor reports or at least investor synopsis material hasn't made it to the internet. Still, if you are an investor and you are seeing Musk constantly making specific claims on reusability, you join him in complicity if you are privately aware that the reality is different. The private/public divide is a bit murky to me. If an investor is publicly traded, is a private company still private if they sell them an ownership share? Or is their some kind of legal restriction prohibiting public trading of venture capital firms.
 

sferrin

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Still, if you are an investor and you are seeing Musk constantly making specific claims on reusability, you join him in complicity if you are privately aware that the reality is different.
Complicit in what?
 

fredymac

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False claims of Falcon 9 reusability up to 100 flights. Regardless of whether the claim is legal/illegal, if you as an investor are aware that Falcon 9 can only make 10 flights while Musk is saying 100, staying silent supports a false claim. Again, given how everything leaks, something that serious would almost certainly have leaked by now.
 

sferrin

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False claims of Falcon 9 reusability up to 100 flights. Regardless of whether the claim is legal/illegal, if you as an investor are aware that Falcon 9 can only make 10 flights while Musk is saying 100, staying silent supports a false claim.
But again, so what? If all who are invested know the truth what does it matter? The customer doesn't care if a launcher can make one launch, ten, or a hundred. They're just paying a price for A launch.
 

fredymac

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If you are willing to gamble that the truth won't leak out because the negative news media impact might be bad enough to kill the company.
 

sferrin

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If you are willing to gamble that the truth won't leak out because the negative news media impact might be bad enough to kill the company.
That's a far stretch from, "As CEO, for Musk to make claims, he subjects himself to legal actions for making false statements."
 

fredymac

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I wasn't aware of the private/public company distinction in legal liability. As a private company, Musk is legally required to inform his investors about the true specifications of Falcon 9. I'm still fuzzy on the issue of a publicly owned investment company taking a share of a "private" company. The moment Spacex is legally held to be public, then the statement fully holds.

Regardless of the specific route by which negative consequences arrive, engaging in false advertising that is at the heart of what you are promoting is inviting disaster.
 

sferrin

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I wasn't aware of the private/public company distinction in legal liability. As a private company, Musk is legally required to inform his investors about the true specifications of Falcon 9.
"But again, so what? If all who are invested know the truth what does it matter?"

I'm not suggesting knowingly making false claims is a good thing. I'm saying if he's telling those investors, "this is where we're at to the best of our knowledge" and telling the media, "this is where we intend to be" and they're not there yet (how could they be, they haven't had 100 launches with one booster yet), I don't think that warrants crucifixion.
 

RanulfC

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So a CEO “suggests”? Musk tends to fire senior execs when they don’t follow his “suggestions”. From my observations, a CEO picks his management team and defines the mission and objective. He delegates authority but removes anyone who defies him. He makes the final decisions. Musk is the voice of Spacex. Not his subordinates (not even Koenigsmann who is the source of the 10 flight quote).
Funny how Musk has quite often changed his claims then since he should just 'fire' anyone who disagrees with him and may in fact know more than him which he admits is just about everyone of his technical heads. Since Koenigsmann has 'defied' him why isn't he fired? Mayhaps because he spoke the truth on how often the Falcon-9R's are designed to fly? Maybe Musk has a habit of hyperbole, which historically he is well known for?

I've said it before but even our understanding of engineering is incompatible. Falcon 9 is about to fly it's fourth time. According to you both engine and airframe will hit their limit at 10. In my world, the rocket engine with its bearings, seals and thermal/mechanical stresses wear out fastest. The airframe lasts much longer.
"100 flights" of a Merlin D is 1,000 minutes or a bit over 16 total operational hours. Note that should also include test fireings so much less. The airframe takes a lot more stress than the engine and again while some or all the components MIGHT be rated at "100 flights" that does mean it crosses over to the entire system and all its sub-components.

Starship/Superheavy is a significant engineering leap beyond Falcon 9 in both size and complexity. And yet I am going to bet it will also fly a lot more than 10 times. And it will do so based on the engineering margins incorporated into Falcon 9.
Your assumptions are based on just that, assumptions. SpaceX has announed an official number while Musk has stated a personal belief. We'll see I suppose but the simple fact is the Falcon 9 has currently 10 times the reusability of any current launch vehicle. What the Starship/Super Heavy will do will depend on flight testing and future work on production rather than protytype models.

These are all observations and surmises I make for myself. They fit into my understanding of what I see.
What about the actual facts and observable data? Those don't count?

If Starship progresses faster than expected and Falcon 9 is retired early, then my expectation will not be tested. Otherwise, I am comfortable with the prospect of an 11th, 12th, and 99th Falcon flight should Starship be delayed.
And you will of course be horribly dissapointed and hate SpaceX and Musk if the Falcon-9 "only" flies 10 flights per booster?

Randy
 

RanulfC

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As CEO, for Musk to make claims, he subjects himself to legal actions for making false statements.
No he's not 'legally liable' for his statements even in his capactiy as CEO unless he makes an offical statement of work or capability. Tossing off statements and making press releases doesn't count.
Note that whether he is making official statements is not the dividing line between illegal and legal. The line is that he is not allowed to knowingly make false statements to investors. He can lie all he wants to random people on the internet without it being a legal problem. For CEOs of public companies, making false statements to investors is pretty much equal to making false statements to anyone at all, which is why he got in such trouble for the Tesla "funding secured" tweet. However, SpaceX is a private company, not a public one, and so long as he keeps the stockholders of it well informed through some private channel he can publicly say pretty much whatever he wants about SpaceX without it being a problem.
Thank you
 

fredymac

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I wasn't aware of the private/public company distinction in legal liability. As a private company, Musk is legally required to inform his investors about the true specifications of Falcon 9.
"But again, so what? If all who are invested know the truth what does it matter?"

I'm not suggesting knowingly making false claims is a good thing. I'm saying if he's telling those investors, "this is where we're at to the best of our knowledge" and telling the media, "this is where we intend to be" and they're not there yet (how could they be, they haven't had 100 launches with one booster yet), I don't think that warrants crucifixion.
The question is, would CNN/ABC/CBS/NBC/etc etc think it warrants crucifixion and would they be able to sway enough opinion to affect company viability. My personal opinion is yes.
 

RanulfC

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So that's why I couldn't find a Spacex stockholder annual report. Given how everything leaks, I'm a bit surprised Spacex investor reports or at least investor synopsis material hasn't made it to the internet. Still, if you are an investor and you are seeing Musk constantly making specific claims on reusability, you join him in complicity if you are privately aware that the reality is different. The private/public divide is a bit murky to me. If an investor is publicly traded, is a private company still private if they sell them an ownership share? Or is their some kind of legal restriction prohibiting public trading of venture capital firms.
It's "privatly" held so no matter what his public statements if the investors are aware that his statement isn't strictly true THEY are the one investing in the company not the public so no one is being 'complicit' in anything. No one can sell stock in SpaceX until Musk takes it public which btw requires a full disclosure IIRC and a public finacial statement. Musk can say pretty much what he wants, and often does, (see Tesla issue above) but his companies correct him and correct the public statements when needed as they have here.

The question is, would CNN/ABC/CBS/NBC/etc etc think it warrants crucifixion and would they be able to sway enough opinion to affect company viability. My personal opinion is yes.
But your personal opinion in fact flies against the face of historic and official facts. CNN-et-al are focused on the IMPORTANT point of the Falcon 9 booster being able to fly up to 10 times before its retired. They themselves have ignored Musks comment so why would they see it as justification to try and 'crucify' Musk for obviously being Musk?

Note that the ONLY one who seems upset over NOT having 100 flights being the official figure is you, that may tell you something about how ground-breaking even 10 flights is.

Randy
 

RanulfC

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sferrin

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The question is, would CNN/ABC/CBS/NBC/etc etc think it warrants crucifixion
Of course they would. If there's a controversy (even if they have to manufacture it *cough* Joe Rogan *cough*) they're going to run with it.

would they be able to sway enough opinion to affect company viability. My personal opinion is yes.
Really though? There doesn't seem to be any evidence to support that.
 

fredymac

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Funny how Musk has quite often changed his claims then since he should just 'fire' anyone who disagrees with him and may in fact know more than him which he admits is just about everyone of his technical heads. Since Koenigsmann has 'defied' him why isn't he fired? Mayhaps because he spoke the truth on how often the Falcon-9R's are designed to fly? Maybe Musk has a habit of hyperbole, which historically he is well known for?
This paragraph is tough to decipher. However, it does make clear your sentiment towards Musk


"100 flights" of a Merlin D is 1,000 minutes or a bit over 16 total operational hours. Note that should also include test fireings so much less. The airframe takes a lot more stress than the engine and again while some or all the components MIGHT be rated at "100 flights" that does mean it crosses over to the entire system and all its sub-components.
Engines are refurbished at 10 flights. Why are you talking 100?
Airframe takes a lot more stress than the engine? OK. You can think that. I disagree with you.


Your assumptions are based on just that, assumptions. SpaceX has announed an official number while Musk has stated a personal belief. We'll see I suppose but the simple fact is the Falcon 9 has currently 10 times the reusability of any current launch vehicle. What the Starship/Super Heavy will do will depend on flight testing and future work on production rather than protytype models.
Your “official announcement” is a single answer in a single interview by a subordinate to Musk. Please provide an actual Spacex specification sheet showing this.


What about the actual facts and observable data? Those don't count?
Both of us are using statements made by Spacex management. Mine by the CEO on many occasions over years. Yours based on a single statement made once. Again, where are your “actual facts and observable data”?


And you will of course be horribly dissapointed and hate SpaceX and Musk if the Falcon-9 "only" flies 10 flights per booster?
If I am wrong about my interpretation of Spacex reusability objectives, I will be surprised and nothing more. Any other emotions you speculate on my behalf are just more narrative.
 

RanulfC

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Funny how Musk has quite often changed his claims then since he should just 'fire' anyone who disagrees with him and may in fact know more than him which he admits is just about everyone of his technical heads. Since Koenigsmann has 'defied' him why isn't he fired? Mayhaps because he spoke the truth on how often the Falcon-9R's are designed to fly? Maybe Musk has a habit of hyperbole, which historically he is well known for?
This paragraph is tough to decipher. However, it does make clear your sentiment towards Musk
Only hard to decifer if you haven't been watching SpaceX since the start. Musk is very well aware he's not even close to the 'smartest' person in the company and has gone out of his way to hire people who are smarter than he is in the areas he needs them to be smarter than he is in. He doesn't "fire" them for disagreeing or telling him to ramp back his hyperbole when he goes to far. Like a good CEO he listens and learns. It doesn't stop him from making claims he's likely aware are not true currently nor probably near-term, it's expected of him by now.

As to my 'sentiment' towards Musk, he's an inovator and risk taker extrodinare who's progressed spaceflight several decades over the past few years and I appluad him for it. I can wish he didn't have such a fixation on Mars being the 'answer' to all our spaceflight problems and that in that same vein the he would realize that getting to Mars as fast as possible will in no way make humanity a 'multi-planet' species or space-faring civilization. That is it going to take a very robust and accesible Earth-to-Orbit transport system rather than that being a 'side-effect' of a Mars transport system which is what Starship/Super Heavy is, and in-space and Cis-Lunar build up to actually move humanity towards large scale Solar System exploration and exploitation. But that's not going to happen as his goal is set.

"100 flights" of a Merlin D is 1,000 minutes or a bit over 16 total operational hours. Note that should also include test fireings so much less. The airframe takes a lot more stress than the engine and again while some or all the components MIGHT be rated at "100 flights" that does mean it crosses over to the entire system and all its sub-components.
Engines are refurbished at 10 flights. Why are you talking 100?
And so is the airframe and components as has been stated. With only one F9R yet to reach even half that number you are expecting 10 times that number of flights in total for the airframe and all components. SpaceX itself has not been as crowing as Musk and this is telling since he's currently more interested in Starship/SH than F9.

Airframe takes a lot more stress than the engine? OK. You can think that. I disagree with you.
I don't think that, I happen to know that and you can disagree but in fact the engines (and thrust frame for that matter) are more heavily built and operationally more robust than the airframe itself. This is nothing new as the old H1 engines on the Saturn 1 were "only" single use simply due to the turbopumps being driven by a solid gas generator system. Work had been done to qualify a standard gas-generator cycle power feed for the turbopumps which was implimented with the RS-27/27A and later models. Overall the engine could fire dozens of times before major overhaul assuming the "one-shot" parts were replaced with reusable parts. (In fact the H1 was extensivly tested for reusability but that program was dropped in the rush to get men to the Moon)

Airframes on the other hand are not as robust being mostly structure to hold propellant tanks and transfer launch stress' throughout the vehicle. In the case of the Falcon 9 they boost to high hypersonic speeds and great altitudes and the back again, dealing with launch heating and aerodynamic stresses and then reentry stresses with added stresses from the grid-fin steering and finally a high-g 'hover-slam' landing. I will happily be surprised if they actually manage more than 10 flights out of an airframe but won't be at all surprised if they only get 10.

Your assumptions are based on just that, assumptions. SpaceX has announed an official number while Musk has stated a personal belief. We'll see I suppose but the simple fact is the Falcon 9 has currently 10 times the reusability of any current launch vehicle. What the Starship/Super Heavy will do will depend on flight testing and future work on production rather than protytype models.
Your “official announcement” is a single answer in a single interview by a subordinate to Musk. Please provide an actual Spacex specification sheet showing this.
Ah, so you have an actual "SpaceX specification sheet" showing they can geruntee each booster can fly 100 flights over it's lifetime then? Not a statement by Elon Musk but an actual specificatoin sheet? And while that 'one statement' in an official Q&A mind you and which has not been corrected officially either (so is probably not in need of correction?) would seem to indicate the most recent data from the boosters may have changed the basic assumptions?


What about the actual facts and observable data? Those don't count?
Both of us are using statements made by Spacex management. Mine by the CEO on many occasions over years. Yours based on a single statement made once. Again, where are your “actual facts and observable data”?
Most recently and with the latest knowledge versus assumed performance prior to more recent data?

And you will of course be horribly dissapointed and hate SpaceX and Musk if the Falcon-9 "only" flies 10 flights per booster?
If I am wrong about my interpretation of Spacex reusability objectives, I will be surprised and nothing more. Any other emotions you speculate on my behalf are just more narrative.
YOu seem to be unwilling to accept anything less than 100 flights as you constantly state so my question was aimed at finding out what your reaction would be if SpaceX failed to live up to your expectations. What if they only fly 50? 20? Only 10? Really EVEN 10 is astounding and worthy of praise by the bucketful but you seems to only want to accept 100 so I wanted to clarify the question. Nice to know you'll be surprised if they don't and I'll be surprised if they do so we know where we stand. Thanks

Randy
 

fredymac

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..................

So Musk goes to a new investor seminar to generate more development funds. Musk is pitching how much financial return he can get reusing the main booster (with cost dropping on a 1/X curve). Someone asks, do you really think you will achieve 100 flights. Musk says hell no but I like to scare my competitors. And this never leaks out.

If X were 10, I would be worried about those investors talking to Blue Origin who do have a spec listing with a minimum of 25 flights based on zero orbital flight experience.

I have mentioned in the past that I am not a rocket engineer so I can't say I know. I am an optical engineer with an interest in aerospace. If I were a rocket engineer engaged in a protracted argument like this, I would probably have brought it up by now. Of course I would also be able to back it up with analysis tools available in the trade. I am always willing to concede to proven expertise.

Let's chalk it up to iteration N of we just don't see the world the same way.
 

sferrin

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So Musk goes to a new investor seminar to generate more development funds.
Okay, now you've moved the goalposts. In this instance he isn't talking to people who already bought in but are new. If he's knowingly lying to them that's fraud. If he tells them, "this is where we are, and X is where we think we can get" that's a different story.
 

RanulfC

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So Musk goes to a new investor seminar to generate more development funds. Musk is pitching how much financial return he can get reusing the main booster (with cost dropping on a 1/X curve). Someone asks, do you really think you will achieve 100 flights. Musk says hell no but I like to scare my competitors. And this never leaks out.
You seem fixated on this as if it were something important? Musk says "I think so" and the investor, who is likely there to 'buy-in' no matter what anyway goes in knowing that's an opinion rather than proven fact. Or reverse it, Musk says "Yes I guarantee that's how it will happen" and then they don't manage to reach that goal. The investor pulls out and sues SpaceX? Not likely he's still making money so it doesn't matter. Musk however could be in trouble as he was with Tesla.

If X were 10, I would be worried about those investors talking to Blue Origin who do have a spec listing with a minimum of 25 flights based on zero orbital flight experience.
You probably would but that likely says more about your knoweldge of investing than people who actually invest in such ventures. (More than likely they invest some in both as a hedge at any rate) The thing about being 'second' is you really DO get to learn from the first with fewer money out of your pocket.

I have mentioned in the past that I am not a rocket engineer so I can't say I know. I am an optical engineer with an interest in aerospace. If I were a rocket engineer engaged in a protracted argument like this, I would probably have brought it up by now. Of course I would also be able to back it up with analysis tools available in the trade. I am always willing to concede to proven expertise.
And again I'm an ex-military aircraft/munitions/and-electronics maintenance worke with a lot of experiance on airframes and systems which tells me that saying is always easier than doing and SpaceX has proven this to itself several times over. If they make it work that's great but the odds are long they ARE actually revising their estimates downward due to gained experiance.

Let's chalk it up to iteration N of we just don't see the world the same way.
Works.

Randy
 

fredymac

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So Musk goes to a new investor seminar to generate more development funds.
Okay, now you've moved the goalposts. In this instance he isn't talking to people who already bought in but are new. If he's knowingly lying to them that's fraud. If he tells them, "this is where we are, and X is where we think we can get" that's a different story.

Goal posts stay where they are: false claims and legal consequences. We now know Musk making false statements to private investors is illegal. The "x is where we think we can get" statement is legally actionable if Spacex has no intent to reach x.
 

fredymac

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And again I'm an ex-military aircraft/munitions/and-electronics maintenance worke with a lot of experiance on airframes and systems which tells me that saying is always easier than doing and SpaceX has proven this to itself several times over. If they make it work that's great but the odds are long they ARE actually revising their estimates downward due to gained experiance.

Let's chalk it up to iteration N of we just don't see the world the same way.
Works.

Randy

Your posts implied a level of technical command and financial insider experience that I did not associate with "an ex-military aircraft/munitions/and-electronics maintenance worker". You can dismiss my posts as uninformed guesses and I can do likewise for you.
 

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The private/public divide is a bit murky to me. If an investor is publicly traded, is a private company still private if they sell them an ownership share? Or is their some kind of legal restriction prohibiting public trading of venture capital firms.
All companies are created private by default, with one set of laws governing them. Then, if a company is willing to jump through a lot of hoops and do a lot of work, they can file a S-1 to SEC, which is effectively petitioning to be turned into a public company. If the SEC feels that the company is now in compliance with the wholly different set of laws and regulations that is required from public companies, they accept and register the company as a public company.

That is, no company can be "accidentally public", they have to work a lot for it and specifically request it. So why do people go through all that work to turn companies public and voluntarily accept much stricter regulation? Because it's not legal for private companies to offer stock sales to people who are not either directly involved or accredited investors (which is basically just code for "rich people"). That's why you or I cannot buy SpaceX stock. If someone were to figure out some kind of loophole for us to buy the stock, the result would not be that SpaceX now has to follow all the regulations, it would be that SEC would close the loophole, and possibly raise some charges against the people who created it.

So Musk goes to a new investor seminar
At this level, there are no "investor seminar"s. If you want to invest in SpaceX, and can convince SpaceX they might want your investment, you fly to Hawthorne and spend some quality time with the principals of the company and your own auditors until you are convinced you are willing to invest. People who manage literal billions don't wait in lines or sit down in an auditorium to listen to a canned speech.
 

fredymac

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We now know Musk making false statements to private investors is illegal.
Where's the evidence he's done that?
That's my point. I do not believe Musk is making false claims to anyone. I believe what Musk says to private investors is what he says in public.

The "x is where we think we can get" statement is legally actionable if Spacex has no intent to reach x.

Where's the evidence they don't?
Ditto. I think Spacex is in fact reaching for 100 flight re-use. The only factor I see as genuinely deflecting this effort is the speed at which Starship is developed.
 

sferrin

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Ah, I see where I made my mistake. RanulfC started that line of thought. (I'd blocked him because I got tired of getting spammed by his walls of text.)
 

Flyaway

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Flyaway

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Musk has clearly said Falcon 9 is designed for ten reuses before it needs major refurbishment, then it goes for another ten and so on.
 

fredymac

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Musk has clearly said Falcon 9 is designed for ten reuses before it needs major refurbishment, then it goes for another ten and so on.
Agreed. Main item of refurbishment are engines.

Here are citations of 100 flight re-use:

https://insights.globalspec.com/article/9968/block-5-how-spacex-re-engineered-its-falcon-9-rocket-to-endure-a-100-launch-lifespan

https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a20152543/spacex-test-fire-new-falcon-9-block-5/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_Block_5
 

sferrin

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I'd be astonished if we see it fly before Feb/March. They still have a ton of work to do building, inspecting, ground testing, and dealing with all the government red tape.
 

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RanulfC

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Let's open with:

TL;DR, (because sferrin is not wrong :) )
My experience/background is from working with aircraft/munitions/electronics systems that in some cases have wildly exceeded their 'design/planned' life while in others have not failed for various reasons before even scratching the surface of that time so when I comment on a similar bit more of a 'clue' than you think I do. A truism for a system is that the design/planned lifetime for something that as of yet has not achieved anywhere near the stated number of flights is going to be based on assumed and extrapolated conclusions and by its nature therefore inaccurate. As time and testing improve this data so will the estimates be changed, possibly radically, in one way or another. This, in my opinion is what we're seeing from SpaceX. It does not invalidate the initial planning or design but it does affect them and future efforts.

Musk has clearly said Falcon 9 is designed for ten reuses before it needs major refurbishment, then it goes for another ten and so on.
Musk has clearly said Falcon 9 is designed for ten reuses before it needs major refurbishment, then it goes for another ten and so on.
Agreed. Main item of refurbishment are engines.

Here are citations of 100 flight re-use:
https://insights.globalspec.com/article/9968/block-5-how-spacex-re-engineered-its-falcon-9-rocket-to-endure-a-100-launch-lifespan
https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a20152543/spacex-test-fire-new-falcon-9-block-5/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9_Block_5
My point has been that they still need to show that and they have yet to hit the 10 flights goal itself. My other point was that they MAY be seeing issues that may actually preclude that end goal. I wasn't the one who went off on a tangent that Musk must be "lying" to investors if that goal in fact cannot be achieved or they are finding it more difficult than originally thought to do so.

That is in fact how you determine the actual rather than designed/planned limits to an airframe.

Your posts implied a level of technical command and financial insider experience that I did not associate with "an ex-military aircraft/munitions/and-electronics maintenance worker". You can dismiss my posts as uninformed guesses and I can do likewise for you.
That's maybe because I may have a bit better 'grasp' than you were assuming in the first place :) I could be making more informed "guesses" than you think because i have experience with similar complexity systems and economics. I could of course be talking out my backside and you're quite free to assume so and act accordingly but let me point out that it IS the operational, maintenance and practical economic side that we are currently discussing.

You asked earlier why I brought up the "100 flights" when we were "talking" about 10 fights but that's part of the point. When you get right down to it picking "100 flights" as a goal is a very telling point about the assumed and hoped for maintenance and serviceability factors of the Falcon. As one engineer I associate with has remarked on the current system I'm helping support likes to say, "We're 50 years into a planned 10 year deployment and some of our equipment amazingly still works" because planned and actual service life are not the same thing.

The goal is to fly the Falcon up to 100 times in 10 flight 'block' increments but that does not actually mean they assume that the booster will actually LAST for 100 flights. That's not how it works. Using rather standard "lifetime" assessment for an airframe a "life" of 100 flights means that as time goes on each successive "maintenance" block will have an increased chance of the booster and components NOT passing and therefore being retired. A design life of 100 flights literally means that by flight 99 the booster is likely to have around a 99% chance of failing due to fatigue and use. And that is based on the original assumptions and calculations being 100% accurate which is rarely the case.

A 100 flight "lifetime" is easily divided up into 10 each 10 'block' flights, which easily enough works out to about a 10% increase per 'block' of the booster being either too expensive, (costs for rebuilding/refurbishment also go up as lifetime decreases) or too "old" (accumulated damage over time) to be returned to flight. Note this isn't a hard rule but a rule-of-thumb but it pretty much generally holds true in aerospace terms. So once they complete the first 10 flight 'block' the booster would, according to their current assumptions be about 90% likely to need only engine and some other component replacement with a very low chance of any "major" airframe/component replacement or damage. But that can change as those flights accumulate and that can change the original assumptions and calculations reducing or even expanding the flight limits. In addition the example airframe itself could suffer some damage or malfunction that renders it unable or uneconomical to continue to use before it reaches any significant portion of its calculated lifetime. This may or may not also effect the original calculations.

And unlike rebuilding an engine, refurbishing an airframe doesn't 'reset' the time/number-of-flights counter so each flight has an increased risk of failure due to simple fatigue accumulation. So the time that a 50 flights on the clock it would be considered 'high-time' airframe and require even more extensive and in-depth checkout and refurbishment. Actually getting 100 flights out of a booster is highly unlikely and that is why the wording "planned" and "designed" is specifically used in that context. This in and of itself is not written in stone as the "planned/design' lifetime itself is based on some assumptions and extrapolations from data available for and from FAR fewer flights and by their nature could be incorrect.

We'll see of course, but in the very final analysis even JUST getting 10 flights out of a booster is a serious advance over current capability.

Randy
 

fredymac

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........The goal is to fly the Falcon up to 100 times in 10 flight 'block' increments but that does not actually mean they assume that the booster will actually LAST for 100 flights. That's not how it works. Using rather standard "lifetime" assessment for an airframe a "life" of 100 flights means that as time goes on each successive "maintenance" block will have an increased chance of the booster and components NOT passing and therefore being retired. A design life of 100 flights literally means that by flight 99 the booster is likely to have around a 99% chance of failing due to fatigue and use. And that is based on the original assumptions and calculations being 100% accurate which is rarely the case.

This paragraph is illustrative. As an engineer, I take the meaning of "design lifetime" to be opposite of yours (surprise). Not a guaranteed failure to reach it, but that any randomly selected booster built to the design specification can be statistically expected to achieve it. The actual average lifespan will exceed the design lifespan based on the level of standard deviation. The 6 sigma philosophy drives this to a maximum in process control so as to minimize the degree to which average must exceed design (which then impacts scrap rate, repair cost, etc etc).
 

RanulfC

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........The goal is to fly the Falcon up to 100 times in 10 flight 'block' increments but that does not actually mean they assume that the booster will actually LAST for 100 flights. That's not how it works. Using rather standard "lifetime" assessment for an airframe a "life" of 100 flights means that as time goes on each successive "maintenance" block will have an increased chance of the booster and components NOT passing and therefore being retired. A design life of 100 flights literally means that by flight 99 the booster is likely to have around a 99% chance of failing due to fatigue and use. And that is based on the original assumptions and calculations being 100% accurate which is rarely the case.
This paragraph is illustrative. As an engineer, I take the meaning of "design lifetime" to be opposite of yours (surprise). Not a guaranteed failure to reach it, but that any randomly selected booster built to the design specification can be statistically expected to achieve it. The actual average lifespan will exceed the design lifespan based on the level of standard deviation. The 6 sigma philosophy drives this to a maximum in process control so as to minimize the degree to which average must exceed design (which then impacts scrap rate, repair cost, etc etc).
Which is ALSO illustrative of the viewpoint of engineer and maintainer :) Especailly when the subject system has not in reality been shown to meet the proposed criteria and the lifetime is based on assumed criteria. They have, I'm sure, been as conservative and accurate as possible but remains to be seen if the assumptions are accurate.

Randy
 

TomcatViP

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"The European space program is largely a program to keep technologists and engineers employed," Shotwell said. "If you can reuse your rocket then you don't have a giant population building new ones."
While Musk wants to populate Mars, ESA plans are for their kitchen cabinets ??!

 
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