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So from the Reddit discussion it seems like 200 launches is about a fair guess for the total deployment of this system. It seems like a perfect way to derisk the notion of reusable launch systems while providing a native-to-SpaceX revenue stream (orbital internet provision).

Assuming that they can achieve the success rates they've been aiming for, demonstrating lowered risk and cost through their own deployments will provide about the best advertisement you could possibly imagine. Waiting for organic outside demand to fill the launch roster to the same point would take time that Musk clearly does not want to waste. It seems to be a Keynesian approach to the slightly Chicken/Egg problem of commercial space.




Isn't the launch roster way beyond full already? http://www.spacex.com/missions


I don't mean that it's full from a financial perspective, but full in an argument-ending "this is the way of the future" sense.

Edit: There are ≈80 missions listed on the link there, 200 launches for their own missions would provide ample opportunity to derisk their customers by reusing launch vehicles beyond their currently marketable mileage and proving their safety (I can imagine that one would want some pretty steep discounts for a rocket that's been used 5 times given current success rates).


Also im-proving the safety by getting tons of experience on what works and what breaks, while only risking some of your own hardware.


I definitely agree with you on this point. More launches means less failures per n launches.


Seems like a great mission profile to build a reliability track record before taking human cargo too.

Consistent small profit launches, then as the accident %'s decrease design an ultra low risk human module and start space tourism for real


> Keynesian approach

Please explain.


Spacex would essentially subsidize their own market by making this constellation since it would reduce their own cost per launch vehicle if they used veteran vessels to get their satellites to orbit. It's basically the same idea as a country going into debt to generate demand.

Edit: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynesian_economics


To me, this seems closer to Arrow's Learning by Doing theory. He had the quite intuitive idea that unit costs fall with total historic output and found some empirical evidence for this with statistics from world war 2 factories. The future benefits here are supply-side (productivity) related and often captured by the specific producer.

Keynes' ideas have been adapted to a range of different forms, but are more about circumstances where the economy is in a deep recession and there is some restriction preventing the economy from utilising all its resources. Here debt financed spending may have demand-side benefits by stimulating yet more demand. This only works at the aggregate economy level, so Elon would have to launch a lot of satellites to benefit from it!


>> This only works at the aggregate economy level, so Elon would have to launch a lot of satellites to benefit from it!

To be fair he's talking about tripling the number of satellites in service with his constellation alone. Within the industry spacex would become the primary supplier and the primary consumer of rocket launches.

I hadn't heard of Arrows learning by doing but that makes sense as well for this discussion.




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