View Full Version : SpaceX super-heavy Mars launcher confirmed - a monster

Dr Mordrid
21st February 2014, 20:34
Since our Russian friend did these modelings of a possible SpaceX super-heavy launcher based on their new Raptor (methane/LOX staged combustion) engine Tom Mueller, SpaceX's co-founder and VP of Propulsion (formerly of TRW and Northrop Grumman), has confirmed Raptor will be more powerful than previously stated, and it will be the basis of their in-progress Mars program. Elon Musk has said this launcher will make Saturn V look small.

Raptor thrust,

Original spec (sea level): 660,000 lbf (300 tonnes)
Updated spec (sea level): 1,000,000 lbf (454 tonnes)

As an acquaintance who is on a NASA advisory board said, "1*MILLION each?* Crap, that's a lot ."

Mueller also confirmed other engine specifics that can't be shared, yet, but indicate Raptor is a very advanced engine design.

He also said the new launchers first stage will use 9 Raptors, similar to the Falcon 9 arrangement, and that one of their Mars trips will mass about 100 tonnes.

System name (all hardware): Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT)

This is very real - Raptor components start tests at NASA's Stennis propulsion center early this year.

That said, the physical layout of at least the single core in the simulation seems very close, except that the cores diameter will be a full 10 meters. The Space Shuttles external tank was just 8.4 meters.

We should hear more within a few weeks, but whatever they call this thing its a beast.

Falcon Mars? Falcon Ridiculously Heavy??



But in light of Muellers statements.they now seem very close.

However, former Russian rocket designer Dmitry Vorontsov took a shot at creating a design around the known specs of the SpaceX Raptor methane engines. This can be augmented using data for a very similar Russian methane engine in development, the RD-0162/0164 for the Soyuz 5 (a possible TsSKB Progress replacement for Proton).

Assumption #1 was that they'd stick with what they know, a 9 engine core like F9 to retain engine out, simplify adapting their avionics etc.

Assumption.#2 was that they'd make a single core launcher and a tri-core Heavy, basically scaling up what they're doing with F9 and FH.

S1: core + boosters
S2: upper stage
S3: spacecraft w/integrated Raptor

Hold your breath....



22nd February 2014, 18:40
Um ... I hope they are launching this rocket on a deserted island away from anything even remotely civilized.

23rd February 2014, 17:06
Is it true people are signing up for a one way trip to Mars?

Dr Mordrid
23rd February 2014, 17:40
Is it true people are signing up for a one way trip to Mars?

That would be Mars One. Yes they are but not too many in the industry are taking it seriously. Inspiration Mars is more serious. They would send 2 people (they want a couple) on a free-return flight around Mars and back, similar to what Apollo 8 did at the Moon.

Um ... I hope they are launching this rocket on a deserted island away from anything even remotely civilized.

This rocket would be of an unprecedated scale, equal to or larger than the old NOVA concept.

SpaceX is likely to take over the Saturn V / Space Shuttle KSC pad 39A next month. KSC accepted their bid and the contracts are being drawn up.

Most likely Mars flights would fly from either KSC's LC-39A (or a new LC-39C pad) since the infrastructure is already there, or SpaceX's new commercial spaceport at Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville Texas. The state of Texas and Brownsvill are on board.

Brownsville is where the factory to produce the beast will likely be (per Musk's testimony before the Texas Legislature last year). It could be barged to KSC or Vandenberg AFB in California if need be. SpaceX is already flying from Vandenberg's SLC-4E, the old Titan IV facility.

Boca Chica's final FAA environmental impact statement is due soon and expected to be approved since the preliminary report was favorable. Once approved the construction starts. A Falcon 9 & Falcon Heavy pad comes first.

If it's at Boca Chica the folks at the southern end of South Padre Island will get one helluva view.