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SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System (Updates)

BFR BFS COLONIZATION PRECURSOR MISSIONS

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#1 DocM

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 12:56 PM

Part 1 of the secret is out: the big gun will be built using composites: $2-3 billion worth in this first deal.

More hard info coming as we get closer to Sept. 27 so a new thread. It may need a name change later.

Toray fibers are used for some 787 parts, and the company has been looking for a reason to expand their Alabama factory. Guess they've found it.

http://asia.nikkei.c...-Mars-ambitions

Toray carbon fiber to carry SpaceX's Mars ambitions

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Japanese materials maker Toray Industries has entered into an agreement to supply carbon fiber to U.S. space flight startup SpaceX for use in the bodies of rockets and space vehicles.

The multiyear deal with Tesla founder Elon Musk's 14-year-old venture is estimated to be worth 200 billion yen to 300 billion yen ($1.99 billion to $2.98 billion) in total. The two sides are aiming to finalize the agreement this fall after hammering out prices, time frames and other terms.
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SpaceX is switching to carbon fibers from aluminum as it develops heavy rockets for carrying people and large quantities of material. A lighter body would allow more cargo to be loaded, which would cut transport costs.
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Edited by DocM, 16 August 2016 - 01:12 PM.

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#2 ESK

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 01:04 PM

Sept. 27th ? I'm marking my calendar right now.



#3 DocM

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 01:09 PM

That's the big presentation at IAC 2016 in Guadalajara.
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#4 DocM

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 01:21 PM

Apparently Toray broke ground on a $1.4B project in Spartanburg, SC last January. Getting a head start.
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#5 XZG 1138

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 05:01 PM

What about composite tanks and pipes, but maybe not cost effective yet?


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#6 SJQ

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 05:30 PM

I don't think there's much in a (dry) rocket stage beyond tanks, pipes, and engines, at least by mass.  So composites would be the way to go.  The DC-X had problems with a composite tank as I recall, but that was more the complexity of the tank shape, not the materials the tank was made of.  A "simple" cylinder should be a lot simpler to fabricate.

 

As for the economics, from DocM's post above, "SpaceX is switching to carbon fibers from aluminum as it develops heavy rockets for carrying people and large quantities of material. A lighter body would allow more cargo to be loaded, which would cut transport costs."

 

Kinda says it all, right there.....


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#7 larper

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 05:44 PM

No, not DC-X.  Those tanks were symmetrical.  It was the awful X-33 Venture Star that had problems.



#8 DocM

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 05:49 PM

NASA and Boeing studied building large carbon fiber cryogenic rocket tanks tanks over the last several years. Built to handle LH2, they were 30% lighter and 25% cheaper than aluminum-lithium alloy tanks like SpaceX uses. CH4 and LOX should be a cinch for the tech.

There's more info on this but it's embargoed., but here's a NASA video about their work. BFR tanks would be about 3x the diameter of the tank in this video.


Edited by DocM, 16 August 2016 - 06:38 PM.

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#9 newsartist

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 10:49 PM

X-33 was a subscale  testbed.  The full Venture Star never got beyond PowerPoints.



#10 XZG 1138

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 11:38 PM

What about incorporating the exterior wall as part of the tank (with endcaps for bulkheads), much like a tubeless tire? No not for upcoming SpaceX tech, but proposals, theoretical studies, tests, etc.  I guess that describes the shuttles external tank. More common than I thought?


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#11 DocM

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 02:33 AM

They've already put autogenous pressurization on the table, so no more helium system.

Another possibility could be concentric spherical tanks, given the similar temps of CH4 and LOX, with an exterior aeroshell.
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#12 flynn

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 03:39 AM

Presumably this will have no effect of prop chilling?

Might even offer more thermal insulation?
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#13 SJQ

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 09:43 AM

No, not DC-X.  Those tanks were symmetrical.  It was the awful X-33 Venture Star that had problems.

 

You are correct, sir.  My bad.


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#14 DocM

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 10:02 AM

Presumably this will have no effect of prop chilling?

Might even offer more thermal insulation?


Just the sheer size of the BFR tanks help by way of the square-cube law. The larger the tank, the slower the boil off.
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#15 Anvel

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 08:31 AM

Composites are long overdue for this application. One potential hurdle is the thermal expansion of composites versus metals is different. This isn't much of a problem until you get to a point in your system where a metal component adjoins a composit component. There will still be metal plumbing carrying the rocket fuel and oxydizer from the tanks to the engines, for instance. These attachment points will be subject to different rates of expansion and contraction when encountering superchilled fuel and oxydizer. There are ways to overcome that and strengthen those joints, but it is an example of how one change upstream effects lots of other things downstream.



#16 owlhoot

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 06:27 PM

How does a carbon fiber composite hold up to the extremely low temperatures of liquid gasses? I would think that the extreme cold temperatures would make the composite brittle and thus subject to cracks and impact failures if the tank is stressed while boiling off vapor.
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#17 DocM

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 06:41 PM

You would think wrong.

NASA and Boeing worked on this for several years and qualified a 5.5 meter tank for liquid hydrogen, far colder than the liquid methane and liquid oxygen propellants BSR/BFS will use. Larger was also shown possible. These also don't have the hydrogen embrittlement issue.

Edited by DocM, 18 August 2016 - 06:47 PM.

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#18 owlhoot

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 06:45 PM

Great thanks!
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#19 DocM

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 06:47 PM

Should have embedded this.

It was developed for NASA, commercial operators, DoD and whoever else qualifies via Space Act Agreements.

Another wrinkle is No-Oven, No-Autoclave (NONA) composites, which simplify curing immensely. AIUI payload fairings, aeroshells, whatever. Developed under a NASA SBIR.




Edited by DocM, 18 August 2016 - 06:59 PM.

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#20 Dewtey

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 07:17 PM

XCor also developed their own composite tank for cryogenics..


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#21 DocM

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 02:04 PM

SpaceX was involved in the production of the upcoming Ron Howard MARS drama-mentary miniseries for National Geographic.

The design of its Daedalus spacecraft is similar to a biconic side-entry BFS concept outside engineers have discussed in general layout, but not the details or scale. They think this is close.

The biconic has the heat shield along its side to minimize heat loading per m^3 and enters like Shuttle, but rotates to vertical for the vertical landing. The rear flipperon would be used to protect the engines during re-entry and as an elevator. Sometimes these are split for additional directional control. Flipperons have been used on ESA's IXV vehicle, Blue Origin's SV orbital capsule and the Russian Kliper concept. Multiple engines for engine out capability.

We'll see how close it is.

National Geographic graphics

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Edited by DocM, 16 September 2016 - 02:33 PM.

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#22 Dewtey

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 02:32 PM

Horizontal entry to a vertical landing would take some serious wind tunnel testing, I'm thinking.


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#23 DocM

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 02:35 PM

With their world class CFD engine (bleeding edge, can rapidly simulate engine combustion) and access to NASA's facilities that's not a problem. They regularly use the Plumbrook vacuum chamber, the ArcJet facility (heat shields), hypervelocity gun, wind tunnels etc. NASA leases them out to commercial operators under Space Act Agreements, keeping them busy.

Edited by DocM, 16 September 2016 - 02:44 PM.

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#24 DocM

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:47 PM

The ESA IXV shows both the biconic entry and split flipperons

IXV_large.jpg
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#25 rocketwatcher

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 06:13 PM

With their world class CFD engine (bleeding edge, can rapidly simulate engine combustion) and access to NASA's facilities that's not a problem. They regularly use the Plumbrook vacuum chamber, the ArcJet facility (heat shields), hypervelocity gun, wind tunnels etc. NASA leases them out to commercial operators under Space Act Agreements, keeping them busy.


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