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Falcon V heavy?

Posted by: erikm - Thu Nov 04, 2004 7:40 pm
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Falcon V heavy? 
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Post Falcon V heavy?   Posted on: Thu Nov 04, 2004 7:40 pm
Hello,
Does anyone who knows have any idea if the following is possible (or desireable)? I first posted it in the Bigelow forum, but this place is more relevant.

Could it be possible to hook together multiple Falcon V first stages, like with the Delta IV heavy? If this were possible and the Falcon V upper stage were stretched, what would the orbital capacity be?

Going by astronautix.com, Delta IV medium can orbit 8500 KG and Delta IV heavy 25800 KG, both to a 185 KM orbit. In their latest update, SpaceX said they're building Falcon V to put 6000 KG in a 200 KM orbit.

Now assuming a fairly large fudge factor it doesn't seem totally impossible for a Falcon V cluster, let's call it Falcon V heavy, to orbit 12500 KG. With less of a fudge factor, 15000 KG might not be out of the question.

The problem with such a creation is that the first stage has 15 (!) engines. N-1style control troubles anyone?

Now, assuming it can be built, what to put into orbit with this rocket? A bigger Gemini? A Soyuz? A minishuttle? A minibus? :P

Alternately, would it be possible or desireable to cluster a number of (stretched?) Falcon I first stages as boosters around a Falcon V core?

Something tells me the Falcon V, working well and available at the prices going round, would be really hated by LM and Boeing.

Commentary is always welcome.

Cheers,
ErikM :twisted:


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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:47 am
From SpaceX's "Updates" page:

Quote:
SpaceX plans call for a long term heavy lift vehicle development. I should be clear that Falcon V is not it. The heavy and super-heavy will be a different line of launch vehicles than Falcon and will make use of a significantly larger main engine. Merlin and Kestrel will constitute upper stage engines for that vehicle line.


From SpaceX founder Elon Musk's US Senate testimony:

Quote:
In fact, it was precisely to improve the cost and reliability of access to space, initially for satellites and later for humans, that I established SpaceX (although some of my friends still think the real goal was to turn a large fortune into a small one). Our first offering, called Falcon I, will be the world’s only semi-reusable orbital rocket apart from the Space Shuttle. Although Falcon I is a light class launch vehicle, we have already announced and sold the first flight of Falcon V, our medium class rocket. Long term plans call for development of a heavy lift product and even a super-heavy, if there is customer demand. We expect that each size increase would result in a meaningful decrease in cost per pound to orbit. For example, dollar cost per pound to orbit dropped from $4000 to $1300 between Falcon I and Falcon V. Ultimately, I believe $500 per pound or less is very achievable.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 08, 2004 7:50 am
Hello, erikm,

what NeuronExMachina quoted and the economic nature of SpaceX's vehicle is reducing barriers to new competiton - Lockheed-Martin and Boeing get a new competitor by the decrease of costs SpaceX has achieved. And both established huge enterprises have to reduce their prices.

Lockheed-Martin and Boeing have to expect decreasing profits - and decreasing power because the government, NASA and other customers now can choose between one of them and an additional interseting supplier and his carrier.

They really have a reason to "hate" the Falcon V.

SpaceX has an advantage the both established firms didn't have - SpaceX allways can have a look at an existing market that has matured during the last few decades. They can avoid all errors and mistakes the established unpreventable have made - they can learn from Boeing and Lockheed-Martin and do it better then.

This too might be a reason for being hated - but the correct answer to the established firms is: "That's the entrepreneural risk". And SpaceX too is faced to that risk.

A third reason to be hated - success of SpaceX will pull additional competitors to the market.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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