China main SpaceX competitor as Russia is giving up

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has stated that it is not worth it for Russia to compete for space launches against SpaceX and China. Russia used to dominate commercial space launches but now SpaceX and China are more inexpensive. SpaceX can now even beat the lower costs in China. China will still use its own rockets to launch their own GPS and Earth observation and other satellites.

China has made 22 launches this year and will have about 35 total launches in 2018.

Russia will try to get into Satellite manufacturing and satellite services.

China is pushing to match SpaceX first stage rocket reusability by about 2021.

Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin, also hopes to get close to SpaceX Falcon Heavy payloads with first stage reusability with the New Glenn rocket in 2020.

SpaceX has improved its first stage reusability with the block 5 and SpaceX is very near to recovering the $6 million fairings (nose cone covers).

SpaceX has plans to recover second stages using an inflatable heat shield.

China would probably be willing to sacrifice margins and operate with some small losses with only first stage recovery against SpaceX first stage, fairing and second stage recovery.

If SpaceX succeeds with the SpaceX BFR in 2022 with full recovery of all parts of a 150-ton payload rocket then it will take until 2030-2035 for China to catch up again.

Any Rocket company without some level of reusability in the SpaceX BFR age and willingness to fund full reusability development will likely drop out.

The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program of the Department of Defense will be renamed the National Security Space Launch program as of March 1, 2019. The military will not only use expendable rockets and will have to explain any contract that excludes reusable.

The Space Launch System of United Launch Alliance should already be canceled with the success of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. However, the SpaceX BFR will cause the Space Launch System to get canceled.

39 thoughts on “China main SpaceX competitor as Russia is giving up”

  1. Hi, According to Space-Track.org, there were 172 cataloged payloads orbited in 2015 and 176 in 2016 (379 in 2017 and already 173 so far in 2018). Not sure to understand how to compare with the chart above #18. Any idea? Cheers Chris

    Reply
  2. HiAccording to Space-Track.org there were 172 cataloged payloads orbited in 2015 and 176 in 2016 (379 in 2017 and already 173 so far in 2018). Not sure to understand how to compare with the chart above #18. Any idea?CheersChris

    Reply
  3. Was mostly republicans, Shelby, Hatch and Hutchinson were the ones most pressing for the SLS. There were a few others including democrats (Bennet, Culberson, Nelson, Mikulski), but they were minor players compared to the first 3.

    Reply
  4. Was mostly republicans Shelby Hatch and Hutchinson were the ones most pressing for the SLS. There were a few others including democrats (Bennet Culberson Nelson Mikulski) but they were minor players compared to the first 3.

    Reply
  5. Hi,
    According to Space-Track.org, there were 172 cataloged payloads orbited in 2015 and 176 in 2016 (379 in 2017 and already 173 so far in 2018). Not sure to understand how to compare with the chart above #18. Any idea?
    Cheers
    Chris

    Reply
  6. Was mostly republicans, Shelby, Hatch and Hutchinson were the ones most pressing for the SLS. There were a few others including democrats (Bennet, Culberson, Nelson, Mikulski), but they were minor players compared to the first 3.

    Reply
  7. Blindness to the business fundamentals because you can’t stand the cognitive dissonance the truth slaps you with is no grounds to demand anything from me. You’re just shooting the messenger — especially with the name calling.

    Yo Brian! Is this the new rule? Direct ad hominem attacks are OK now? I recall you banning people for less.

    Reply
  8. Hello moronic sockpuppeting troll, there will be no collapse of Tesla. If there were, it would have no economic effect on SpaceX.

    Still waiting for you to show any factual support for either of your contentions to the contrary.

    Reply
  9. It’s a bit harder than normal. I am sure SpaceX won’t easily allow foreign agents to hoover up its rocket plans. And no-one can reverse-engineer a Falcon rocket ‘cos you can’t get your hands on one (unless you use a submarine and go hunting for fallen boosters.) But the big issue for China is simply SpaceX’s speed and dexterity. it is already building the second generation of re-usable rocket, while China is years away from reaching the first generation.

    Reply
  10. Warrentheape 550 points
    20 hours ago
    The Russians pulling out! Impossible!

    Because…you know..Trump Colluded With The Russians!

    Well if Trump colluded with the Russians why is the Russians being punished as they are. They have more sanctions put on them now than what happened under Obama. Also The Russian’s economy is hurting pretty badly now under Trump. I would think that it Trump had colluded with the Russians Russia (namely Putin) would be getting all kinds of bennies from Trump or they the Russians would spill the beans.

    Reply
  11. If Peter Thiel and Charles Murray are right about higher education, a nation’s higher education ranking might not be as important as it once was. What is more important, I suspect, is the distribution of capital and fertility rates to high aptitude subpopulations. Certainly, the post-Soviet trend toward population-crushing oligarchy was a nightmare for the Russian people. I visited Irkutsk’s Academy in 2000 and saw the desperate conditions up to and including nearly being spattered by blood. However, a later visit in 2007 to Ekaterinburg showed a much-improved situation — at least over what I saw earlier in Siberia. Putin may be a thug, but if he managed to shake capital loose from some of the oligarchs, some of it might have escaped his own pockets. Additional programs aimed at increasing the fertility rates of relatively employable young women are another good sign.

    I wouldn’t write Russia off…

    Reply
  12. China is less interested in stealing rocketry ideas, and more on airbreathing systems in the hypersonic regime. That’s the boost-phase for the mid to late 20’s and beyond. That’s where they will steal everyone’s launch lunch for both satellites and big-time deep space expeditions…while we’ve been napping.

    Reply
  13. Russia was a one-trick pony act with that optimally-designed engine, still in demand in Atlas-based rockets. Excepting refinements, the system was completed decades ago. Moscow has run out of ideas. Nobody wants their cars, nobody wants their phones. They have nothing new; the Kremlin’s focus is on tearing Europe and America down to their own level.

    Reply
  14. Russia’s engineering talent is the remaining fragrance of a long-empty perfume bottle. Under Putin, Russian universities have fallen from at least one in the World’s top-ten rankings of a few years ago, to a single institution at ~475. Barely in the top-500.

    By contrast, the U.S. has 6 or 7 of the best… in the top TEN, including several tech U’s.

    Reply
  15. China has the world’s only Mach 30, quarter-scale, wind tunnel.
    Now that continuous hypersonic propulsion has been well-validated, they are in a position to dispense with rocket-based propulsion in the all-important boost-phase, switching to SI > 1000 (vs rockets maxing out at 500 at best) airbreathing, returnable, airframes to launch second stages toward final LEO injection.

    China has a robust set of various scramjet programmes, and will be prepared for economies of scale in launch systems by 2025. With the exception of SpaceX’s proposed nuclear air-augmented design, rocketry in the boost phase is heading toward a dead end, even with returnable, recyclable, components.

    Reply
  16. The SLS was forced on NASA by congress (mainly republicans) in order to funnel more tax money to certain large defense contractors. I predict that it will be dead in the water by the time BFS flies frequently. But that won’t matter. Launching that thing was only ever of secondary importance.

    Reply
  17. Give us a timeframe for this “catastrophic collapse”, so that we can check your predictions.
    If not, the next time this argument pops up and Tesla is till in business, you’ll say “yeah, just wait a little bit more and you’ll see the collapse…”

    Reply
  18. “Russia will try to get into Satellite manufacturing and satellite services”? There is no evidence of that. If Russia was capable in this area it would be doing it long ago.

    Reply
  19. Yes and that is based upon a cost that is 10-20 times higher than Space X and nearly 100 times higher than projected costs of BFR. These cost differences change the equation of what will be done in the future with new frontiers opening up in mining, exploration, LEO communications satellites and habitats etc. NASA need to cancel the SLS and throw that 4 billion a year into exploration and space development technologies.

    Reply
  20. The point of SMART is to bridge the gap soon after Vulcan’s debut while they work on full reusability of the first stage.
    The rest is just marketing speak to look good while they work to catch up.

    That said, the ULA and its duopoly parents do tend to favor overly expensive engines.

    Reply
  21. Space Launch System is a NASA (mis-)managed rocket, though Boeing has a contract to provide overall project management of the program and Lockheed Martin builds some components of the rocket. ULA which an equal partnership between Lockheed Martin and Boeing is not involved in SLS..

    Reply
  22. ULA Vulcan is nowhere near getting cancelled. In fact they claim that their reusable rocket engines provide a lower cost compared to SpaceX rockets as they don’t require fuel for recovering the rocket and that more than offsets the decreased 67% worth only of the rocket recovered.

    Reply

Leave a Comment