Author Topic: Dual Launch: FH w/ ACES 73 US  (Read 941 times)

Offline TomH

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Dual Launch: FH w/ ACES 73 US
« on: 03/06/2017 07:13 AM »
This is a theoretical exercise. I pre-acknowledge the red tape and politics. I am interested in this from a practical engineering perspective.

Not wanting to take the FH Lunar circumnavigation thread too far off topic, I decided a new thread would be better.

Let's say said mission steals the thunder of manned EM-1 and the current political and budget situation makes SLS survival look bleak. Elon is not really interested in Luna, but he is interested in funding sources.

I am interested in the feasibility of NASA purchasing slightly used F9 Block 5 cores already prepped for flight as an FH. Let's say ULA could win a contract for a lunar lander and also be convinced to sell ACES 73 with 4 RL-10s along with it as the US (no Falcon US).  I am envisioning this as fully expendable 3 cores and cross feed to give the ACES/payload all the impulse possible. Methane is not of great value in lunar exploration and highly efficient RP-1 cores with LH2 US is a good lunar recipe. The cores exist now and much work has already gone into ACES design. The lander would be clean sheet. The capsule would be Dragon, but it would need some mods, maybe a hab.

This would give Elon some cash flow, while distracting little from his primary objective. NASA and congress could say they are moving forward with something affordable that gives some results. UAL would get revenue to move ahead with its Vulcan US now. SLS would join its Ares brothers.........wherever they are. A few senators......well..........

What potential would a dual launch architecture of this nature have? I know there are issues of needing mods at 2 pads. How well would said booster match the ACES 73 for TLI? Comments, constructive criticism?

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Dual Launch: FH w/ ACES 73 US
« Reply #1 on: 03/06/2017 08:30 AM »
A three launch architecture without mixing ULA and SpaceX stages except a FH carries LH and LOX to refuel ACES.

Make Dragon lunar orbit capable. Send up the moon lander with ULA ACES upper stage. Refuel ACES in LEO with a FH launch. Send moon lander to LLO to meet Dragon with crew.

Offline Jim

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Re: Dual Launch: FH w/ ACES 73 US
« Reply #2 on: 03/06/2017 10:55 AM »
This is a theoretical exercise. I pre-acknowledge the red tape and politics. I am interested in this from a practical engineering perspective.

Practical engineering acknowledges red tape and politics and therefore doesn't waste resources on projects that will never happen or have elements that will never happen (SpaceX selling stages, ULA stage controlling Spacex stages, etc)

Online envy887

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Re: Dual Launch: FH w/ ACES 73 US
« Reply #3 on: 03/06/2017 12:09 PM »
Fully expended FH cores + ACES 73 as 2nd stage gets less to TLI (16t) than the regular Falcon upper stage (16.5t) by my estimates.

With ACES 43 as a third stage gets 22.5t to TLI, but Centaur gets 21.5t. The 73 does not appear to add any significant payload at launch.

The distributed launch idea sounds way better to me.

Offline GWH

Re: Dual Launch: FH w/ ACES 73 US
« Reply #4 on: 03/06/2017 02:12 PM »
Regarding the distributed launch Jon Goff made this blog post recently which is relevant: http://selenianboondocks.com/2017/02/random-thoughts-first-pass-analysis-of-a-white-dragonxeus-lunar-sortie-mission/

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