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HLLV vs. high flight rates: A look at economies...

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:53 am
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HLLV vs. high flight rates: A look at economies... 
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Post HLLV vs. high flight rates: A look at economies...   Posted on: Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:53 am
The article "The Mega-Module Path to Nowhere (Or: How to Eliminate Human Space Flight With an HLV)" ( www.space.com/adastra/adastra_mega-modules2_051013.html )

provides a very good illustration and valid examples (reminding me to studies) of costs and economies of scale regarding launch pads, flight rates, large or huge space vehicles, HLLVs, small space vehicles etc.

It's a good enhancement to the thread about costs.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:22 pm
There is nothing valid about it at all. We use containerships, not rowboats. The author is one of the lame rocket racing hacks. http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=5620

Of course, a first-generation RLV like Space Van might not pan out....

Oh really?

Many new vehicles are not quite right on the first attempt—the de Havilland Comet airliner, for example. But, even if it takes two or three generations for developers to get it right, the cost would still be a fraction of the $10 billion needed to develop NASA's super booster.

No it wouldn't.

X-33 proved that. VentureStar would have cost $50 billion. You don't send Cessenas to do an C-5As job. Now that he races crappy little rockets were supposed to take him seriously? Please.

He isn't the only one who can write an article. I deal with his kind of arguements here:

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-04zc.html
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-05za.html
http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=33414

Nor am I alone.
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/150/1

This examination shows there is no significant cost savings by pursuing the use of numbers of medium-lift vehicles when compared to the development of a new, shuttle-derived heavy lift booster. The development of such a heavy-lift booster supports the President’s space vision by providing the capability of lofting heavy payloads to the Moon in support of the construction of a lunar base as well as providing the capability to conduct other missions. I believe the development of a heavy booster in conjunction with the appropriate use of medium-lift boosters and modular spacecraft represents the most effective strategy for the US manned space program.

And no, Edward is no relation to me. Thankfully.

I would rather fly in Apollo-level know-how than ride in the contraption of a fraud.
His link doesn't even seem to be working now: http://www.racing-rockets.org/

This is what I mean about big-talking space-libertarians being damaging to real space progress. The Proxmire types take them seriously, gut needed propulsion funds, and when its time for the space libertarians to put-up or shut-up, they do neither. People didn't think they needed the R-7, the HLLV of its day--and I'd say it is selling quite well. Ariane V was supposed to be oversized, and yet its upgrade came as a result of payloads getting larger.

So let Ed have his little John Denver Special and wrap it around a pylon.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Here is some more evidence to back up the case for larger rockets.

Nice Propulsion links BTW
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/index.html
http://www.hobbyspace.com/Links/LaunchPropulsion1.html

You may not always agree with Truax--but his logic about how small upper stages costing as much as bigger lower stages is also valid when comaring small fantasies like Space Van with HLLVs

http://www.rocketryonline.com/Search/db ... s&db_id=36

He loves pressure-feds.
http://www.optipoint.com/far/far8.htm


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 14, 2005 5:25 pm
Since I didn't have the time to point to the relevant issues of the article I am doing that now by this post.

Quote:
Assume two expendable rockets, Hoss and Little Joe. Hoss can launch 100-tons. Little Joe can launch only 10 tons. Hoss requires $6 billion worth of launch pads, roadways, hangars, etc. Little Joe requires only $600 million worth of launch facilities. If you launch Hoss three times a year for 10 years, the amortized cost of those launch facilities will be $6,000,000,000/30 = $200,000,000 per flight, or $2,000,000 per ton of payload. To do the same job with Little Joe requires at least 10 times as many flights. Let's call it 12 times, to allow for Hoss's more efficient payload fraction. So, Little Joe must be launched 36 times a year. So, the amortized cost of launch facilities over 10 years will be $600,000,000/360 = about $1,670,000 per flight or $167,000 per ton of payload.


This is a valid and good illustration for economies of scale as theoretcially considered in the thread about costs - the only difference being that in the costs-thread economies of scale of volume of different vehicles are considered while in the quote above economies of scale of number of launches are considered.

The example of the 747 and the 737 is an illustration for airflight but it is adding the demand side - which isn't included into the costs thread.

Quote:
SpaceShipOne provides another example. The flight test program included 66 flights of the first stage (White Knight) and 17 flights of the upper stage (SpaceShipOne). If these had been expendable stages, Scaled Composites would have had to build a total of 83 stages to complete the same test program. If each expendable stage cost $5 million, the total program would have cost nearly half a billion dollars. Because both vehicles were reusable, Scaled was able to complete the flight test program for only $25 million.


This quote illustrates economies of scale too - economies of scale of number of launches but launches of the same and identical vehicle all the time - different to the "Hoss and Little Joe"-example above. That's an essential and interetsing difference. It is a parallel to the recent calculation in the thread about the costs of the CXV.

Thanks to this article because I now can avoid to involve the SS2, the CXV etc. into the theoretical threads.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 14, 2005 9:25 pm
Don't get hung up on the word reusable. Just because SS1 is cheap doesn't make it better. It can be reusable as it wants to be and still not mine the moon, or put space manufacturing systems up.

I would advise you purchase the book SPACEFLIGHT IN THE ERA OF AEROSPACEPLANES which shows how small re-usable craft and HLLVs complement one another.

All Ed does is come up with figures out of the blue. I could launch one million sounding roclets for less than a Saturn V--but that won't get me to the moon either.

A bunch of cessenas is still not as good as either 737 (EELV) or 747 (HLLV)

All Ed has is a GeeBee cum racer:
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-04v.html

And I don't see it revolutionizing anything.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:22 am
publiusr wrote:
Just because SS1 is cheap doesn't make it better. It can be reusable as it wants to be and still not mine the moon, ..... I could launch one million sounding roclets for less than a Saturn V--but that won't get me to the moon either.
Of course no mater how many suborbital vehicles you launch you never get anywhere. But at least in theory a bunch of Falcon 1's could put a thousand ton interplanetary space ship in orbit one small piece at a time, although the lowest cost per pound is the smallest version of the Falcon 9.

As I see it, everyone is always comparing mature technologies, like cars, airplanes or boats to space craft and wondering why space craft cost so much more. Simple. Cars, planes and boats have already been invented. Space craft cost comes from the fact that you have to invent the space craft before you can build it. Maybe Space-X is getting close to "production" style rocket building. They sure seem to have done a quality job in a short time by using already invented technology.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 15, 2005 10:55 am
There as an additional point to be said here. All what is explained in the thread about costs is the theory of costs in Economics not only - it does have to do with the property oc costs only -with the properties of the costs of what has been produced. That is the product of the production process.

So no goal is involved and considered there - no destianation like Mars or Moon, no industrail activities in space and no pusposes like suborbital, orbital or interplanetary. The flights haven't been specified nor the vehicles.

This might cause severe misunderstandings. The article includes concrete goals and purposes like orbital.

To take the quoted parts of the article as illustrations onlysimply compare the comparisons between two approaches, concepts etc. for one and the same purpose regardless of what is thought about the purpose itself: The costs of a vehicle don't have nothing to do with the purpose of the vehicle and the costs of a flight don't have nothing to do with the purpose of the flight.

Urgently avoid to compare the costs of two vehicles which are designed for different purposes - these mustn't be compared and such a comparison is excluded from the theoretical costs-thread: it is invalid.

I think I will work out comparisons between the parts of the article and parts of the costs-thread here later.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:46 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
publiusr wrote:
Just because SS1 is cheap doesn't make it better. It can be reusable as it wants to be and still not mine the moon, ..... I could launch one million sounding roclets for less than a Saturn V--but that won't get me to the moon either.
Of course no mater how many suborbital vehicles you launch you never get anywhere. But at least in theory a bunch of Falcon 1's could put a thousand ton interplanetary space ship in orbit one small piece at a time, although the lowest cost per pound is the smallest version of the Falcon 9. Maybe Space-X is getting close to "production" style rocket building.


Not with the launch delays they have had. By the time Falcon V assembled a 1,000 ton craft the sun would be in its Red Giant phase. ISS failed exactly because high flight rates never materialized. Musk--if he is lucky, will launch small payloads but nothing a person will ride in. Falcon IX is a big gamble, and I hope he pulls it off.

OTRAG in many ways was closer to being a production style rocket than the more tech intensive Falcons. The bigger OTRAGs would have had engine out--and the largest would have had very wide payloads, so the lenticular craft like what we saw on the cover of Popular Mechanics a few years ago would be possible.

Remember...

Just because some rocket racer pulls a bunch of estimates out of his tuckus doesn't make them true.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:49 pm
publiusr wrote:
Not with the launch delays they have had.
Remember, I said "in theory". I never said how long it would take.

publiusr wrote:
ISS failed exactly because high flight rates never materialized.
I am sure Falcon is capable of a very high flight rate, if the demand supports it. Musk has said as much.

Look, I am not trying to say that putting a large mass in orbit with lots of small launches is better or cheaper than one heavy lift launch. I am just saying that it is possible.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:27 am
To start the first comparison of what has been said ín the Costs-thread to one of the illustrations in the quoted article the following detail-quotes are of good use:

Quote:
Hoss requires $6 billion worth of launch pads, roadways, hangars, etc.


Quote:
If you launch Hoss three times a year for 10 years...


What's considered by these quotes (and the issues past them) are the launch costs and the costs of the infrastructure.

In the Costs-thread an equation included the term FCLS which previously had been defined as Fixed Costs of Launch Site (runway, launch pad, launch personal etc.). It was used in the following equation:

TCOP = FCV + FCP + FCLS + FCCA + FCPS + FCE + VPCP(NP) + VCPI(NPI) + VCCV(NP + NPI)

which tells the Total Costs of OPerations.

These FCLS can - and must - be separated into the Fixed Costs of Launch Pad FCLP and the Remaining FCLS RFCLS:

FCLS = FCLP + RFCLS

The second detailed quote above mentions the number of launches - regardless of the size of the rocket or vehicle, regardless of manned or unmanned and regardless of the destination or purpose or kind of the vehicle.

This means the division of the FCLP by the number of launches NL. These are the Fixed Costs of Launch Pad per Launch FCLPL:

FCLPL = FCLP/NL

And this is nothing else than the Degression of Costs explained in the Costs-thread.

The article uses one and the same launch pad for two different rockets or vehicles. They are of different size but can use the same launch pad. The article calculates the Degression of Costs for both these vehicles/rockets.

So it's a very good application of a portion of the Costs-thread. Of course the part of the article used as illustration in this post is an example only - nor the launch pad neither the two rockets Hoss and Little Joe do exist.

But the only thing left is an alternative launch pad of significantly different captial costs - then economies of scale could be shown by this example.

But the article talks about more examples I will comsider here too.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 21, 2005 9:44 pm
Here is a good response to Ed Wrights piece, as written by an academician.

Look at the bottom:
http://www.newmars.com/forums/viewtopic ... 6&start=40

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The argument in the link is stupid, and avoids the one great monolithic elephant-in-room problem with piecemeal missions: you have split your payloads up. Splitting a Lunar mission into small ton-scale pieces is stupid because you couldn't possibly split your payload up into pieces that small. Even the CEV service module will weigh ~20MT. Thats to say nothing of a crushing, idea-smashing costs associated with breaking up your mission into so many (critical!) pieces.

The costs associated with building 20-50MT class rockets are high enough that you wouldn't see a huge savings over one big HLLV, and a large RLV capable of 20MT class payloads would easily cost some tens of billions of dollars. Even a 10MT class vehicle could easily top $20Bn to develop.

"SpaceShipOne provides another example"

He's right, it does provide an example, that Mr. Wright is an idiot. Anyone who invokes the holy SpaceShipOne for comparison in ANY real venture is automatically a moron.

"Small reusable vehicles can revolution access to space the way microcomputers revolutionized access to computing"

No, they can't. The smaller your payload capacity is, the less things that you can reasonably do with it.

NASA should encourage private business to get into the game, but NASA neither can nor should give up pints of its own blood to private firms who aren't first willing to stick their necks out. NASA has been burned once over Lockheed's betrayal over the X-33, and no matter how much T/Space and the like whine about "if only we had some (no strings) NASA money, we could do XYZ!," they have to step up to the plate and make a commitment to space flight. Being that these are private companies, who naturally want to minimize risk and maximize their ability to bail if things go wrong, the only way that they can make such a commitment is by coming up with their own cash to get started.

And I'm talking real money, not pretend SpaceShipOne money, the kind with nine or more digits... THEN they can petition NASA for help.
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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 22, 2005 4:15 pm
The following quote illustrates a reduction of variable costs:

Quote:
There's more. The Little Joe crews are launching 36 rockets a year. The Hoss crews are only launching 3 rockets a year. So, the Little Joe crews are a lot more practiced in their jobs. The more often you do something, the more efficient you become. Economists call this "the learning effect." If you perform a task twice as often, efficiency generally improves 10-20%. The Little Joe crews are practicing their jobs 12 times as often, so their efficiency should be at least 30% better


The Totak Costs of OPeration TCOP) increase by the number of launches as well as by number of passengers. One of the sources of this increase are the costs per launch.

While the labour costs are fixed costs for the operating organization they aren't necessaryly for the launch site or pad. The crew of workers is required ther per launch only. If the workers are paid per hour then a well-trained crew working mor efficiently means less costs than a crew not that well-trained.

So the quoted example - which again considers rockets that don't exist since there are no rockets call Hoss or Little Joe - illustrates a difference in variable costs. Such a difference is one of the characteristica of economies of scale.

The article doesn't say anything about the wages of thos workers - but this can be considered to be a part of the illustration of economies of scale like considered theoretically in the costs-thread. It only is required to apply the plausible assumption that higher efficiency gets the workers higher wages if there is competition at the market for launch-workers.

I'll continue later.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:46 am
The next part of the article which illustrates something is

Quote:
The advocates of great big rockets point to 747s as evidence for economies of scale favoring large vehicles. But smaller jets like the 737 carry far more passengers, with virtually the same economy per seat-mile. Airlines know that economy scales most strongly with flight rate, not aircraft size. 747s operate only on major routes where there's enough demand to fill a 747 on a daily basis


It illustrates something very important.

The last issue of this quote remarks that the use of large heavy airplanes is concentrated on major routes where there is higher demand on a daily basis while what has been said before that issue still means that high flight rates provide economies of scale.

The important fact illustrated by this quote is that both flight rates and passenger/cargo capacity can generate economies of scale.

This is soemthing not worked out in the Costs-thread yet that clearly - it will be done later.

The amount of customers or of payload may occur all at the same time or it may be distributed over a longer period of time. There is at least one additional factor which isn't illustrated that clearly by that article. If flight rate or passenger/paylod-capacity provides economies of scale depends on the distribution of customers or payloads over time.

This tends to go beyond th Costs-thread a little bit - I am thinking about how to handle it and have an idea already.

I will have a look at additional illustrations provided by that article but will use another article for illustrations also.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:00 pm
The article is fictional crap. I'll take mike Griffins word over that racer-wannabe anyday.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:04 am
publiusr wrote:
The article is fictional crap. I'll take mike Griffins word over that racer-wannabe anyday.


I value your opinion as much as anyone, publius, but I'd like a little proof now and again, too.

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