Its getting increasingly difficult to see ( in a commercial sense) what the FH is now needed for.Some very heavy Sat's in GEO I imagine - some big military Sat's no doubt.But very little else for Earth orbit.
Unless they eventually come up with a reusable second stage. The FH can probably loft a generous F9 payload along with a second stage designed to survive re-entry. It's probably too soon to know whether this would actually make economical sense vs. dumping the second stage, and it seems SpaceX has gone silent regarding second stage recovery (apart from the distant BFR).
The question then becomes: Can a hypothetical refurbished second stage + 2 additional refurbished boosters come in cheaper than a standard expended second stage?...
Probably not with current technology, but I hope they're working on it.
This all brings us back to the point of reusability you raised earlier:
Reuse.Its a good question.They have remained tight lipped on that.
And I too find the lack of actual clues somewhat frustrating. For all we know, refurbishing an F9 booster could be so time and money consuming that they'd only be doing it to save face or in the hope it will become profitable someday... I doubt that's the case, but if the future of SpaceX and currently the only sensible way of making space more accessible rides on it, it would be great to know how it's going in more details.
It's still work in progress of course, but refurbishing of current boosters is not exactly the once-over and refuel Musk is eventually shooting for.
Block 5 should help, and appears to be designed for a lifetime of 10 missions.
The most fuel-efficient suicide burn is one where the final landing burn happens as quickly and close to the ground as possible. I see this as a natural evolution of the reusability program.
I've always wondered what sort of acceleration the booster endures during the re-entry and landing burns, and now by how much they're pushing that with that new 'savage mode' landing burn...
Has SpaceX even released that data? I'm guessing any technical info about the booster landing technology and technique will be proprietary.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.