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SpaceX future launch vehicle concepts

Triton

Donald McKelvy
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SpaceX future launch vehicle concepts include the Falcon X, Falcon X Heavy, and the Falcon XX.

Sources:
http://images.spaceref.com/news/2010/SpaceX_Overview_TEM.pdf

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2010/08/05/07.xml&headline=SpaceX%20Unveils%20Heavy-Lift%20Vehicle%20Plan
 

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Voidhawk9

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According to Elon, the X and XX are future possibilities, rather than firm concepts. Engineers get excited, apparently! B)
 

blackstar

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I think that the first image was posted in another thread a week ago. Don't really care all that much, but you might look there as well. I also think that you meant to post this in the space section, not this one.

This is simply SpaceX staking a claim to the HLV work that they see in the congressional bills. They're saying "we can build big rockets too!" But I do think that's a bit of a reach for the company. They would have to be a lot bigger to take on a project like this. Right now they are a boutique operation.
 

OM

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...Outstanding finds, Triton. Only sad thing about them is that except for the F-1 and F-9, none of those will ever be built. At least not in most of our lifetimes. It's enough to make me seriously offering my one remaining real leg just to see something like the XX at least built and erected, if not launched.

This is simply SpaceX staking a claim to the HLV work that they see in the congressional bills. They're saying "we can build big rockets too!" But I do think that's a bit of a reach for the company.
...Note for history's sake, that on this Dwayne and I agree. Until SpaceX has at least three more F-9's successfully launched with payloads successfully deployed, and at least gotten the F-X off the pad(*), they're still in the serious amateur class. Deserving of respect still, but still unproven enough to cross fingers *and* toes each launch.

(*) Getting all those main engines working together on a first all-up launch has enough pit *and* pratfall possibilities that I'll give them a point if they can at least get this stack off the pad and boosted high enough to where if it does blow it won't produce a remake of that one Delta launch a few years back that killed quite a few cars in the parking lot next door :eek:
 

Lauge

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OM said:
..........a remake of that one Delta launch a few years back that killed quite a few cars in the parking lot next door :eek:[/font][/color][/size][/i]
OUCH :p

Not only have you just lost your car, but imagine trying to explain this to the insurance company ("I'm sorry sir, you claim your car was hit by a what??")

Anyway, I do hope SpaceX makes it, but I remain depressingly sceptical...... :-[

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
 

blackstar

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Triton said:
SpaceX heavy launch system roadmap from 2009.

Source:
http://www.space.com/common/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11793
There's actually a fair amount about this over on the NASASpaceflight.com discussion group. You might look there for additional information and discussion.
 

Byeman

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OM said:
Note for history's sake, that on this Dwayne and I agree. Until SpaceX has at least three more F-9's successfully launched with payloads successfully deployed,
Not true, as far as NASA is concerned, the first launch was a success and F9 is now able to fly NASA spacecraft
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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SpaceX have given some more details of their proposed HLV. The AW article talks a bit about political and economic dimensions to this, but I'll focus on the technical below.

[quote author=http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/awst/2010/11/29/AW_11_29_2010_p28-271784.xml&headline=NASA%20Studies%20Scaled-Up%20Falcon,%20Merlin]
NASA Studies Scaled-Up Falcon, Merlin

Dec 2, 2010

By Guy Norris, Madhu Unnikrishnan
Los Angeles, Los Angeles

SpaceX will respond to NASA’s heavy-lift launch vehicle study with concepts that can carry 150 tons to orbit and cost no more than $300 million per launch.

Outlining SpaceX’s approach to the contract—one of 13 trade-study awards made by NASA in early November to look at innovative launch vehicle concepts and propulsion technologies—CEO Elon Musk says only plans that embrace economic, political and technical solutions will work.

[...]

Several approaches are being considered, including a super-heavy vehicle combining three Falcon 9 Heavy cores for a combined total of 27 main engines. However, a less costly option could include a launcher using scaled-up Merlin engines and a Falcon 9 first stage. “You could distill it down to one Falcon 9 Heavy and maybe one larger diameter core around 20 ft., and maybe three engines on that with thrust-to-weight ratios of 5:1 and make it a scaled-up Merlin and a scale-up of a Falcon 9 first stage to create that core. The only uncertainty you’re dealing with is scaling up,” says Musk.

In terms of the size of the scaled-up Merlin, he says: “We’re leaning at around 1.7 million lb. thrust, although at one point we looked at what if we went to 3.5 million lb. thrust. That does sound insane, I know, but the space shuttle solid rocket boosters are around 3 million.” With the baseline Merlin, which is throttle-able to 60%, SpaceX believes a version that could throttle down to around 1 million lb. could potentially equip vehicles such as the Atlas V as well as replace engines on Falcon 9. “Falcon 9 would just become Falcon, and Falcon 9 Heavy would just become Falcon Heavy,” says Musk.

“The cores combine to create a roughly 10-million-lb. liftoff mass. We will need something in that order. You basically combine three first stages to create your super-heavy. You can get a semi-free stage by cross-feeding from the outer cores, and you burn all the engines but only drain from outer tanks. So when side boosters separate, you have a full center core.” With a fully fueled center core, SpaceX believes this arrangement could allow the use of an unchanged Falcon 9 upper stage. “That way you get a three-stage super-heavy-lift vehicle, and all you’ve done is scale up the Merlin and Falcon 9 first stage. You essentially get a second stage for free,” says Musk.

[...]

Based on a roughly evenly split $10 billion budget for heavy lift, with half for the boost stage and half for the upper stage, “we’re confident we could get a fully operational vehicle to the pad for $2.5 billion—and not only that, I will personally guarantee it,” Musk says. In addition, the final product would be a fully accounted cost per flight of $300 million, he asserts. “I’ll also guarantee that,” he adds, though he cautions this does not include a potential upper-stage upgrade.
[/quote]
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.popsci.com/spacex-will-try-land-one-its-rockets-next-week
 

merriman

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I read the initial boo-bird posts on this thread. Then, the last one, linking to this world changing event coming at us tomorrow.

Oh, ye of little faith!

Go get 'em, Mr. Musk!

David
 

blackstar

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merriman said:
I read the initial boo-bird posts on this thread. Then, the last one, linking to this world changing event coming at us tomorrow.

Oh, ye of little faith!

Go get 'em, Mr. Musk!

David
Faith is for church.

And go back and look at the original postings and compare dates.
 

athpilot

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Does anyone latest news on the Falcon XX heavy? Will the rocket start this year? I hope so... :D
 

Hobbes

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As far as I know, SpaceX now refers to their next generation rocket as MCT (Mars Colonial Transport). To be powered by the Raptor (methane/LOX) engine.
 

Michel Van

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athpilot said:
Does anyone latest news on the Falcon XX heavy? Will the rocket start this year? I hope so... :D

You mean the Falcon Heavy based on Falcon 9 ?
The first test launch is scheduled for this year
If SpaceX keep that date is another thing...
 

blackstar

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It's scheduled for pretty late in the year. But I think that they were originally talking about a launch in 2013 or earlier (one of those 2010 charts--see the third post--shows it in 2012), so it's been a bit of a moving target.
 

Hobbes

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Michel Van said:
athpilot said:
Does anyone latest news on the Falcon XX heavy? Will the rocket start this year? I hope so... :D
You mean the Falcon Heavy based on Falcon 9 ?
The first test launch is scheduled for this year
If SpaceX keep that date is another thing...

No, Falcon XX was the name used around 2010 for a larger successor to Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy. See the images on page 1 of this thread.

First launch for Falcon Heavy is planned for this year. MCT is still in the preliminary design stage, AFAIK design work mostly focuses on the engine (Raptor).
 

bobbymike

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http://news.discovery.com/space/private-spaceflight/spacex-unveils-falcon-heavy-launch-and-flyback-video-150127.htm
 

flanker

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BFR/MCT to be unveiled early next year;

Musk has previously said that he would publicly present some specifics of his Mars-colonization plans later this year, though he tells me that it may now be early next year. "Before we announce it, I want to make sure that we're not gonna make really big changes to it," he says. "Um, yeah. I think it's gonna seem pretty crazy, no matter what."

Just because it's so far beyond what people would imagine?

He laughs. "It's really big." And laughs again. "It's really big. There's not been any architecture like this described that I'm aware of."
http://www.gq.com/story/elon-musk-mars-spacex-tesla-interview?utm_source=10370
 

sferrin

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""It's really big. There's not been any architecture like this described that I'm aware of.""

That will be interesting to see if true. Pretty much everything has been looked at at one time or another.
 

flanker

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Well i am sure people on here will dig out some napkin drawing (like, literally) that will loosely resemble something like BFT/MCT. :p
 

GeorgeA

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flanker said:
Well i am sure people on here will dig out some napkin drawing (like, literally) that will loosely resemble something like BFT/MCT. :p
Yes. That's what we do.
 

sferrin

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flanker said:
Well i am sure people on here will dig out some napkin drawing (like, literally) that will loosely resemble something like BFT/MCT. :p
And that's a problem because. . .
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Flanker, you say it like it's a bad thing!

"This is who we are. This is what we do."- The Millennium Group
 

sferrin

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I can already hear the howls of, "a nuclear reactor on a rocket. . .rockets explode. . .SpaceX already had a rocket explode. . .etc. etc. etc.".
 

jeffb

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sferrin said:
I can already hear the howls of, "a nuclear reactor on a rocket. . .rockets explode. . .SpaceX already had a rocket explode. . .etc. etc. etc.".
Well they could always point at the 30 or so that the Russians put up back in the 70's.

flanker said:
Some info from a certain place...
Could you provide a link to that"certain place", it looks like an interesting read.
 

flanker

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sferrin said:
I can already hear the howls of, "a nuclear reactor on a rocket. . .rockets explode. . .SpaceX already had a rocket explode. . .etc. etc. etc.".
Of course there would howls and there should be howls. We are talking about a rocket that is twice the size of Saturn V with a 20 ton nuclear reactor on its tip; you don't feel that should at the very least be questionable?

Even the best and safest rockets are bound to fail once out of 100 times so the risk of something going wrong is massively larger than the risk something going wrong with a nuclear reactor on earth (be it land based on even submarine). It is just not comparable. And i am saying all that as an advocate of nuclear power despite also being an environmentalist. Nuclear power is overall very safe but putting it on a rocket is just completely different kind of risk.

All this is really logic 101. I don't see how it is impossible to be pro-nuclear and at same time reservations against putting it on a massive and very complex rocket.

JeffB said:
flanker said:
Some info from a certain place...
Could you provide a link to that"certain place", it looks like an interesting read.
It is information leaked to Reddit from Nasaspaceflight L2;

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/l2/
 

GeorgeA

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NSF L2 (the subscription side) is a really interesting site with a lot of good content, some of it from inside the fence so to speak. And yes, there's a running thread on the MCT.

NSF, the free side, is not as great. The useful content that is there tends to get drowned out by a lot of crackpot science, conspiracy theories, historical know-nothingism, and an unrelenting SpaceX fanboi culture. Consume with more than a grain of NaCl.
 

sferrin

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flanker said:
sferrin said:
I can already hear the howls of, "a nuclear reactor on a rocket. . .rockets explode. . .SpaceX already had a rocket explode. . .etc. etc. etc.".
Of course there would howls and there should be howls. We are talking about a rocket that is twice the size of Saturn V with a 20 ton nuclear reactor on its tip; you don't feel that should at the very least be questionable?
No. I think reasonable precautions should be taken (a man-rating required for the booster for example). The launch takes place over the ocean, and they studied this problem decades ago anyway. Hell, they even did a "what happens if a reactor explodes on the pad" test:



(and that was a much more risky open-cycle nuclear rocket rather than an encased power reactor) It's not as though the reactor itself would be as fragile as your average booster, and reactor technology has improved since then as well. And maybe you put the inert reactor into space on one rocket and the fuel, in a much tougher package, in another. No way in hell do I think launching reactors into space should be forbidden.
 

flanker

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I don't think it should be forbidden but the risk associated shouldnt be dismissed in one stroke either. There tends to be a middle ground to things. ::)

And considering they found no significant pieces of Dragon after CRS-7, i wouldn't exactly expect a reactor to be in one piece either after a situation like that. So whether it is as tough as a booster or not is irrelevant. Also, last time i checked oceans contains a lot of life so it isnt exactly a no risk zone. But we are wildly off topic now anyway.
 

sferrin

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flanker said:
I don't think it should be forbidden but the risk associated shouldnt be dismissed in one stroke either. There tends to be a middle ground to things. ::)
I did not "dismiss" risk at one stroke. ::)

flanker said:
And considering they found no significant pieces of Dragon after CRS-7, i wouldn't exactly expect a reactor to be in one piece either after a situation like that. So whether it is as tough as a booster or not is irrelevant.
Where did I say it should be "as tough as a booster"? Oh right, I didn't. I said it should be much tougher, and also indicated the reactor and it's fuel could be sent on separate flights. Building a container for the fuel that was tough enough would not be a technical problem. As for Dragon not surviving, why would you think it would? It's not built like a tank but like an eggshell. Sure, it's built tougher than the booster, but that's not saying much.
 

Hobbes

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George Allegrezza said:
NSF, the free side, is not as great. The useful content that is there tends to get drowned out by a lot of crackpot science, conspiracy theories, historical know-nothingism, and an unrelenting SpaceX fanboi culture. Consume with more than a grain of NaCl.
That happens a lot in the SpaceX section; you'll be kneedeep in speculation on every thread. In other areas of NSF the signal-to-noise ratio is much higher.
 

blackstar

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Hobbes said:
George Allegrezza said:
NSF, the free side, is not as great. The useful content that is there tends to get drowned out by a lot of crackpot science, conspiracy theories, historical know-nothingism, and an unrelenting SpaceX fanboi culture. Consume with more than a grain of NaCl.
That happens a lot in the SpaceX section; you'll be kneedeep in speculation on every thread. In other areas of NSF the signal-to-noise ratio is much higher.
I agree. I think that's generally true--the SpaceX sections tend to be filled with hyperventilating fanboys suffering fainting spells. But elsewhere the site tends to be better grounded. And as much as I can find moderators annoying at times (note I said "at times," not always), I think that the mods there do a reasonable job of steering the SpaceX enthusiasts to those sections. So if, as often happens, a discussion oddly takes a 90 degree turn and heads into SpaceX territory, they will trim the posts and send the posters to the relevant sections so that the overall discussion is not derailed.

That said, I still find it amusing how so many people can get so authoritative based upon reading the internets and not having, you know, actually sat in any meetings, gone to any conferences, worked on any of the issues. It's fun to have opinions, but so often I've seen people unable to realize that what they firmly believe they know to be true is not how things are actually working in the real world.
 

Grey Havoc

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http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/12/speculation-on-spacex-mars-colonization.html
 

Grey Havoc

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On a related note: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/17/spacex-wants-to-launch-4425-satellites-into-space-to-bring-super-fast-internet-to-the-world.html
 

blackstar

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There's a Reddit discussion of this where somebody did some envelope calculations of launch requirements and costs. Even the baseline constellation requires dozens of launches, and the full constellation requires probably a couple of hundred launches to establish. The overall cost is many billions of dollars.

A safer bet would be to assume that they end up with a smaller constellation. Or that it does not happen at all. There were a bunch of similar proposals in the 1990s and all but one of them flamed out. The only one that pulled through was Iridium, and they had to declare bankruptcy, write off their losses, and reform under new management.
 
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