Boeing fears Spacex Raptor engine – CEO vows to put humans on Mars before Spacex but needs over $60 billion for Space Launch System

Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg sees a commercial space-travel market with dozens of destinations orbiting the Earth and hypersonic aircraft shuttling travelers between continents in two hours or less. And Boeing intends to be a key player in the initial push to send humans to Mars, maybe even beating Musk to his long-time goal.

“I’m convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,” Muilenburg said at the Chicago event on innovation, which was sponsored by the Atlantic magazine.

Like Musk’s SpaceX, Boeing is focused on building out the commercial space sector near earth as spaceflight becomes more routine, while developing technology to venture far beyond the moon. The Chicago-based aerospace giant is working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop a heavy-lift rocket called the Space Launch System for deep space exploration. Boeing and SpaceX are also the first commercial companies NASA selected to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

Muilenburg sees space tourism closer to home “blossoming over the next couple of decades into a viable commercial market.” The International Space Station could be joined in low-earth orbit by dozens of hotels and companies pursuing micro-gravity manufacturing and research.

Boeing is the main partner paid by NASA to build the Space Launch System

Nextbigfuture noted yesterday that if Spacex achieved even a small part of what Elon Musk and Spacex have promised with the Interplanetary Launch System, Spacex would kill funding for the Space Launch System

Spacex and Elon Musk are developing the Interplanetary Transport System, the Raptor engine and the Falcon Heavy on spec. Spacex is mostly self-funding the initial development of those systems.

Elon Musk is spending tens of millions per year on developing his Mars colonization plans and the hardware for it.
This will scale up to $200-300 million per year by 2018 or so.

Space Launch System received $2 billion in the latest fiscal year 2016 annual budget.

The SLS has gotten US$9.8 billion (2011-16) and will get over $40 billion until 2025 and Boeing and partners could receive a total of over $60 billion for full Space Launch System development.

The Block 1 SLS which hopes to have a first mission in 2018 can lift 70 tons to low earth orbit. A Block 1B SLS plans to be able to launch about 100 tons to low earth orbit around 2022.

IF Space Launch System flies late in 2018, Boeing and its partners will have spent over $14 billion to get to its first launch. This is for a system that is reusing a lot of Space Shuttle technology and systems and following a design that is similar to the Saturn V.

Spacex Raptor Engine is test firing and the engine would be three times more powerful than the Merlin 1D engine

The Spacex production Raptor engine goal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN (~310 metric tons) at 300 bar.

Welding is complete on the largest piece of the core stage that will provide the fuel for the first flight of NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System, with the Orion spacecraft in 2018. The core stage liquid hydrogen tank has completed welding on the Vertical Assembly Center at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Standing more than 130 feet tall, the liquid hydrogen tank is the largest cryogenic fuel tank for a rocket in the world. The liquid hydrogen tank and liquid oxygen tank are part of the core stage — the “backbone” of the SLS rocket that will stand at more than 200 feet tall. Together, the tanks will hold 733,000 gallons of propellant and feed the vehicle’s four RS-25 engines to produce a total of 2 million pounds of thrust. This is the second major piece of core stage flight hardware to finish full welding on the Vertical Assembly Center.

The SLS design is driven by two imperatives: to achieve particular lift goals (initially 70 MT, later 105 MT and finally 130 MT) and to re-use Space Shuttle and Constellation technology.

Spacex and Elon Musk have the 61 page presentation of the Interplanetary Transport System and the plan from early exploration to a sustainable colony on Mars

However, besides the test firings of the new Raptor engine that is needed for the Mars transport, Spacex has also built a full sized carbon composite fuel tank.

The Interplanetary Transport system can launch 550 tons to low earth orbit which is nearly four times as much as the Saturn V. It would be over four times as powerful as the SLS in the final version of the SLS

NASA Space Launch system

Spacex Falcon Heavy

In Launch Markets where Spacex is a launch option United Launch Alliance and Ari

It is obvious that Boeing fears losing the Space Launch System funding. They have gotten about $10 billion so far and launched nothing.

Wikipedia has compiled the impact of Spacex price competition on Ariane and United Launch Alliance

In June 2014, Arianespace CEO Stephane Israel announced that European efforts to remain competitive in response to SpaceX’ recent success have begun in earnest, including the creation of a new joint venture company from Arianespace’s two largest shareholders: the launch-vehicle producer Airbus Group and engine-producer Safran. No specific details to become more competitive were released at the time. In 2015, the European multinational space agency—the European Space Agency (ESA)—is endeavoring to reorganize in order to reduce bureaucracy and decrease inefficiencies in launcher and satellite spending which have been historically tied to the amount of tax funds that each country has provided to the ESA.

In August 2014, Eutelsat, the third-largest fixed satellite services operator worldwide by revenue, indicated that it plans to spend approximately €100 million less each year in the next three years, due to lower prices for launch services and by transitioning their commsats to electric propulsion. They indicated that they are using the lower prices they can get from SpaceX against Arianespace in negotiation for launch contracts. By November 2014, SpaceX had “already begun to take market share” from Arianespace. Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen said, in reference to ESA’s program to develop the Ariane 6, “Each year that passes will see SpaceX advance, gain market share and further reduce its costs through economies of scale.” European government research ministers approved the development of the new European rocket—Ariane 6—in December 2014, projecting the rocket would be “cheaper to construct and to operate” and that “more modern methods of production and a streamlined assembly to try to reduce unit costs” plus “the rocket’s modular design can be tailored to a wide range of satellite and mission types [so it] should gain further economies from frequent use.” In early 2016, Arianespace was projecting a launch price of €90–100 million, about one-half of the 2015 Ariane 5 per launch price.

Facing direct market competition from SpaceX, the large US launch provider United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced strategic changes in 2014 to restructure its launch business—reducing two launch vehicles to one—while implementing an iterative and incremental development program to build a partially-reusable and much lower-cost launch system over the next decade. In October 2014, ULA announced a major restructuring of processes and workforce in order to decrease launch costs by half. One of the reasons given for the restructuring and new cost reduction goals was competition from SpaceX. ULA has had less “success landing contracts to launch private, commercial communications and earth observation satellites” than it has had with launch US military payloads, but CEO Tory Bruno believes the new lower-cost launcher can be competitive and succeed in the commercial satellite sector. The US GAO has calculated that the average cost of each ULA rocket launch for the US government has risen to approximately US$420 million. In May 2015, ULA stated that it would go out of business unless it won commercial and civil satellite launch orders to offset an expected slump in U.S. military and spy launches.

SpaceX has remained “the low-cost supplier in the industry.” However, in the market for launch of US military payloads, ULA faced no competition for the launches for nearly a decade, since the formation of the ULA joint venture from Lockheed Martin and Boeing in 2006. But SpaceX is also upsetting the traditional military space launch arrangement in the US, which has been called a monopoly by space analyst Marco Caceres and criticized by some in the US Congress. As of May 2015, the SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 was certified by the USAF to compete to launch many of the expensive satellites which are considered essential to US national security.

By mid-2015, Arianespace was speaking publicly about job reductions as part of an attempt to remain competitive in the “European industry [which is being] restructured, consolidated, rationalised and streamlined” to respond to SpaceX price competition. Still, “Arianespace remained confident it could maintain its 50 per cent share of the space launch market despite SpaceX’s slashing prices by building reliable rockets that are smaller and cheaper.

As early as August 2014, media sources noted that the US launch market may have two competitive super-heavy launch vehicles available in the 2020s to launch payloads of 100 metric tons (220,000 lb) or more to low-Earth orbit. The US government is currently developing the Space Launch System (SLS), a heavy-lift launch vehicle for lofting very large payloads of 70 to 130 tonnes (150,000 to 290,000 lb) from Earth. On the commercial side, SpaceX is privately developing a super-heavy lift launch vehicle, which is being designed to lift a 100 tonnes (220,000 lb)+ payload to Earth orbit. SpaceX has played down the competitive aspect with SLS.

Battle of the Heavyweight Rockets – SLS could face Exploration Class rival August 29, 2014 by Chris Bergin

Chris Bergin noted, However, if SpaceX makes progress on its super-heavy launch vehicle in “the coming years, it is almost unavoidable that America’s two HLVs will attract comparisons and a healthy debate, potentially at the political level

United Launch Alliance, could not compete with upstart provider SpaceX during a competition in late 2015 for an Air Force payload, a senior engineer with the company. SpaceX was able to offer launch capabilities for as little as one-third the price of what United Launch Alliance could, said Brett Tobey, vice president of engineering for the Colorado-based rocket company.

SOURCES – NASA, Spacex, Bloomberg, Twitter