SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System (updates)


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Musk gave a long interview at SXSW, with buddy Jonathan Nolan delivering questions.  Mostly pretty light, but a few morsels,

 

 

 

 

Went into base fundamentals. Insists the base needs pizzas and beer ;)

 

His brother Kimball Musk showed up at the end, then they all started singing a song from '3 Amigos.' 

Edited by DocM
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Yep. Right in-line with what the projections have been with manufacturing, assembly, and vendor/procurement have been saying. Returns on investment(s) will start coming in by 2021 or so. Lots of capital already spent on BFR/BFS, and it's already been expensive. Not as expensive as Apollo/Saturn (in today's money), which is a great thing.

 

Once the technical documents and engineering spec sheets start making their rounds, expect a massive shift in fab techniques as Industry adopts. :yes: BFR/BFS are a way, way bigger deal under the hood than a lot of people really get.

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Yup. The largest composite cryo-liquid  launcher now is Rocket Lab's Electron, but BFR/S are at the far opposite end of the scale. New vehicles between will need to follow their lead in order to be relevant wrt payload mass fraction..  

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And here it comes....

 

This is not where the first ships are being built but a much larger factory measuring about 18859.32 m2/203,000 ft2 and 32 meters/105 ft tall, which is a bit high for the 9 meter/30 foot core fuelling speculation that the 12 meter/39.33 foot BFR may return later. 750 employees, about 16-18 months construction.

 

Bethlehem Shipyard Historic District

Terminal Island 

 

Reddit thread

 

Summary

 

Google Maps....

 

LA BFR factory: WW Marine Composites (a SpaceX subsidiary)


Product: "commercial transportation vessels" :woot:

 

The property manager's LinkedIn says:

 

Quote


WW Marine Redevelopment Project
Starting January 2017. 

I was involved in negotiations with WW Marine Composites, LLC (WWM) on a 40-year ground lease for the repurposing and redevelopment of the vacant 17-acre former Southwest Marine site located on Terminal Island. 

WWM develops advanced rockets and spacecraft. The WWM proposal includes the development of a high tech R&D facility to design, develop, and manufacture prototypes and first-generation models of space transportation vessels for exploration. 

 

The vessels, once completed, will be too large for delivery by road or rail and must be transported via barge, necessitating the proposed facility to be located adjacent to the water. The proposed project will put a major piece of underutilized LA Port property (vacant since 2002) back into useful service and provide the LA Port with a tenant, who will make a $42 million capital investment, as well as improvements, to the property along Berth 240Z and Y and a portion of Berth 240X.

 

https://www.portoflosangeles.org/Board/2018/March 2018/03_15_18_Special_Agenda_Item_7.pdf

 

Quote


The proposed Project involves the issuance of a 10-year Lease (with up to two 10-year lease extension/renewal options) for the construction and operation of a facility to manufacture large commercial transportation vessels at Berth 240 off Seaside Avenue on Terminal Island. The approximately 18-acre proposed Project site includes portions of the former Southwest Marine site. The site is entirely disturbed with abandoned industrial buildings, unused compacted dirt area, and paved areas. Operation would involve research and development of transportation vessels and would likely include general manufacturing procedures such as welding, composite curing, cleaning, painting, and assembly operations. The majority of operations would take place inside the facility, with exterior operations limited to transit of vehicles, forklift traffic, and mobilization of manufactured products onto a barge at the dockside for testing and delivery. Finished vessels would need to be transported via water due to their size; thus there is the need to locate the facility immediately adjacent to the water. In addition, the lease would accommodate recovery operations undertaken by Space Exploration Technologies to bring to shore vehicles returning from space that are retrieved by an autonomous drone ship offshore.

 

5aaff012279dc_BFRfactorysite1-800.thumb.jpg.4b280fc001352603ee6e23f5f417203e.jpg

 

5aaff026a98be_BFRfactorysite2-800.thumb.jpg.fdbfacdcfb9e48d5900935ed922c902b.jpg

 

Edited by DocM
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Really the only place BFR can do polar-trajectory launches from in California is VAFB.

 

BFS, however ... once the regs are amended, should be able to launch from designated corridors anywhere. About like airports situated around big cities, they'll need to set up launch corridors but shouldn't be a big deal once the technology is proven (and California is a stickler about that). Can't have desert scrubland that's home to some species of small gecko overflown, ya know.

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14 hours ago, Unobscured Vision said:

(and California is a stickler about that).

This is why I was a little surprised he's sticking this in LA.  Cali is a stickler about a lot of things.

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The construction clock is running.

 

https://www.teslarati.com/spacexs-first-bfr-manufacturing-facility-approved-long-beach-port-la-photos/

 

Quote

SpaceX’s first BFR manufacturing facility approved by the Port of LA

>
On March 15, around a week after the environmental impact assessment gave a green light for SpaceX’s facility, Port of Los Angeles’ Board of Harbor Commissioners approved the proposal, effectively giving SpaceX permission to begin serious demolition and construction activities at Berth 240, an abandoned lot located on the San Pedro side of the greater Port of Los Angeles, which refers to both Ports of San Pedro and Long Beach. To provide context, SpaceX’s primary manufacturing facilities in Hawthorne, CA occupy 10-15 acres of urban real estate – in other words, even partial development of Berth 240’s 18 acres would mark a huge expansion of the company’s available manufacturing and refurbishment space, an absolute necessity for the construction of a launch vehicle as large as BFR.

The construction of such a facility would make it significantly easier for SpaceX to build its first BFR/BFS prototypes, avoiding the massive disruption and cost that transporting the 9m-diameter vehicle through downtown LA. Rather than dealing with that nightmare, SpaceX would instead be able to simply crane an assembled booster or spaceship onto a barge (perhaps a drone ship?) that would then ship the rocket hardware through the Panama Canal to the company’s facilities in Cape Canaveral, FL or Boca Chica, TX.
>

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As a southern Cali resident (San Diego area), this makes me rather happy. I've driven up to SpaceX HQ a few times just to show my daughter the S1 they have outside the building and also to watch them ship out S1's from there. This will give us another chance to see some amazing things without having to visit another state. Excited to see what comes out of this new shop.

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They're also moving stage refurbishment, Dragon recovery, fairing recovery and ASDS ops to the new facility.

 

With Starlink launches going out of Vandenberg like popcorn San Pedro's going to get busy.

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Got the full plan, and it sounds like the 9 meter composite cryotanks and other large parts will be shipped from Janicki Industries (which is near Seattle). They did composites for B2, F-22, 787 & others, and they will do the B-21 Raider bomber

 

Janicki Industries also built the NASA/Boeing 5.5 meter qualification liquid hydrogen  cryotank, and the 12 meter ITS liquid oxygen cryotank Musk showed at IAC2016, and was tested to destruction in 2017.

 

12 meter ITS cryotank

 

 

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Operation

 

The proposed Project operations would be industrial manufacturing, involving the research, development, design, and manufacture of prototypes and first-generation models of specialized transportation vessels. 

The facility is intended to be a state-of-the-art industrial manufacturing facility serving to prototype new ideas and technologies for specialized transportation vessels. The proposed facility would be on an approximately 10-acre site. 

Operations would include up to 750 workers daily, working in shifts with up to 500 workers at a time (two shifts would be 7 a.m.  3 p.m. and 3 p.m.  8 p.m.) to develop and manufacture prototype and first generation vessels. Workers would be from the greater Los Angeles area workforce, with commuting distances expected to average approximately 13 miles each way. Up to 50 customers or visitors daily are anticipated. A total of 438 parking spaces would be provided within the lease area, including open areas adjacent to the vacant buildings comprising the former Southwest Marine Shipyard. There is one existing access point from South Seaside Avenue, which would be used in conjunction with two new additional access driveways from South Seaside Avenue. Though no disturbance or use of the historic buildings is proposed, the lease area would include historic buildings and the Applicant would be responsible for maintaining the historic buildings structures in compliance with the LAHD Built Environmental Historic, Architecture and Cultural Resource Policy adopted by the Harbor Commissioners Resolution 13-7479 in April 2013.

Most materials necessary for manufacturing would be delivered via truck and approximately 10 truck trips per day would be expected with deliveries. For oversized components, deliveries would be via barge delivering directly to the new facility from Seattle. It is anticipated that there would be an average of one delivery by barge per month, with peak periods necessitating up to three deliveries by barge in a month. 

Due to their large size, finished products would be transported by water for either testing or delivery, which necessitates the location of the facility adjacent to the water. A barge would depart for transportation of products for testing or delivery up to three times a month. 
>>

 

 

Screenshot_20180325-154153.thumb.jpg.a65c32f281c0e24c2d4513488e1c303e.jpg

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Ahhh ... my realm. Very, very good stuff what goes into making these tanks. Both the science and the materials. :yes:(Y) And Janicki are the best at doing this stuff, bar none.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's called a mandrel. A robotic arm applies several layers of either carbon fiber threads or tape, pre-coated with resin, in a programmed pattern which enhances strength as it rotates. A similar tech is used to wind the Boeing 787 fuselage sections. Those are usually done using several layers: a straight base layer, a helical winding, and another straight binding layer are common.  Unobscured Vision is the composites expert so he can expand if he wants.

 

787 sections

 

This is likely for the ~15 meter section where the propellant tanks are shown in this Spaceship render, which is a lo-res render from the engineering plans. The propulsion and wing section is likely aluminum-lithium alloy, and the payload section designed for the task; passenger + cargo, cargo only, propellant tanker, or satellite deployment.

 

017D7753-D24A-40AD-9EFE-ECB6A351807E.thumb.jpg.31df6ab6f356b6beed43078a7cb9b398.jpg

Edited by DocM
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Teslarati.com is on the case, and SpaceX is no longer using Janicki Industries in WA as a composites tooling source. They bought the tooling from AscentntAerospace

 Coast Composites of Santa Ana, CA.

 

https://ascentaerospace.com/coastcompositeshome/

 

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-bfr-factory-rocket-tooling-site-activity/

 

Quote

>
Hours after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed the first photos of tooling for the manufacture of BFR, Teslarati photographer Pauline Acalin sped down to Port of San Pedro to survey a large dockside tent the company was constructing as of December 2017. Now complete, the temporary facility appears to be exploding with SpaceX activity as the company surges ahead with plans to assemble the first Mars rocket and spaceship prototypes  rocket-powered hops could begin as soon as early next year, with orbital launches following about a year after that.

Per a number of related discoveries, the tooling pictured in Musks teaser is almost certainly located in the same tent pictured above. Of particular note, a source involved in the work has confirmed that SpaceX is using a new supplier for the custom tooling needed to manufacture BFR. The sources comments were confirmed to be accurate minutes later in photos taken by Teslaratis senior SpaceX stalker that peg Ascent Aerospace Coast Composites as the tooling manufacturer. As if to dispatch any lingering doubt, Ascent Aerospace appears to have also independently confirmed its involvement through a rare post on social media.
>

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by DocM
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Thanks @DocM for the shoutout. :yes: When I first saw this piece of equipment I immediately thought it was either the spindle or the mandrel, but I wanted to wait until I saw more of it because I've never seen either pieces of equipment this large before. They're true monsters. Now that we can view it from multiple angles (especially the interior) it's indeed a very, very large and mighty mandrel.

 

The spindle is used to feed the material, where the mandrel is used for slight tension to smooth out any force inconsistencies from the spindle. I know it would appear to be defining the same thing, and technically they are the same thing almost, but you need both when doing Composites like this because the fibre is very fragile. It depends on the process they're using, though -- lots of processes don't use both; it's only when the fibre threads needs to be specifically spaced out that they'll use both. It's very, very technical. :yes: 

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I could go on and on about processes with Composites. I won't bore you all with the details; but it's very tricky, very detail-oriented, and there are lots of ways to do things. :D 

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I'm still figuring out exactly what their specific approach is going to be with this. Will discuss with classmates tomorrow -- we will have answers in short order. :yes: 

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