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originally posted by: penroc3
a reply to: mightmight
the one i saw had to be on the very edge or outside the atmosphere, it moved like it was jumping across the sky and with how fast it was going and how dead silent it was where i saw it im going to guess it was in space. i could be wrong it is almost impossible to judge altitude at night with no reference from the ground.
if the shuttle can meet up with and grab satellites from the start of its life cycle, if you had the right launch window and enough fuel i don't see why something conventional launched from the ground or a TSTO/SSTO couldn't do the same thing, if not more.
i have seen a triangle, but i cant speak to it having the ability to get to space so i will have to stick with what i know can happen.
if i were the airforce/NRO etc. i would focus on being able to put a small satellite in orbit over a problem area with out needing to do a full scale launch.
The total development cost of the XS-1 is going to be approximately $300M. This includes the 15 demo flights required at $5M. This is based off the DOD budget site going back from FY2014 through FY2018 and the projected FY2019 (projected request) plus the cost of the test flights @ $5M/flight. The released payload @Mach 10 is supposed to be 1800 kg. Using the rocket equation, if you are using a solid booster to do the rest of the ride up, you'll get a usable payload around 180 kg. +/-, BOE.
Let's take a look at the Kestrel Eye. This is a 50 kg imagery satellite that costs $1.2M bought by the US Army to test giving real time data to the troops on the ground (future TBD, this *IS* the Army). […]
The Falcon9 actually costs $62M per launch as of 2018. The costs we were throwing around are too low. Additionally, payloads to polar orbit as less than to LEO from the Cape. I don't have an open source for that, so I'll have to just say its less, I think, about 20% less, but I can't find a source quickly. Publicly, SpaceX is not advertising a cost less for the reusable F9. The reusable F9R also has a lower payload compared to the expendable one, which is iirc, 10% less.
The F9 fleet you mention of 50 rockets is not going to have 50 of them available at Vandenberg. They are going to be where SpaceX makes most of its money, at the Cape and eventually at the Texas launch site. They are moved around by barge from California to elsewhere, so shuffling one over to VAFB to launch is not going to work out. There is just not enough of market, from the commercial POV. With the current 13 week turn around, if they base 10% at VAFB, then SpaceX will have an 18 day flight cadence from there. They MIGHT be able to surge 5 days in a row given what's being done publicly now. That may change, but for the moment...this is what it could be.
If Boeing could figure out how to reduce the launch cost by $1M, then you start getting in the financial range where the XS-1 is starting to make fastmovers nervous. Remember the SR-71 unit cost and operational costs.
That said, I am ABSOLUTELY not advocating getting rid of fastmovers. I also NOT advocating getting rid of SpaceX's Falcon9. I am stating the supposed downside of the XS-1 based on cost is not as much as people think and the cost of developing the XS-1 is comparable (or cheaper) than a fastmover and a very useful capability to have.