Using a third stage inside the payload bay is also something that should be very seriously considered.

==============================================================Vehicle 1st Flt TransLunar TransMars GTO ==============================================================...BFR 2022? 0 kg 0 kg ~20,000 kgBFR-R 2022? ~73,500 kg ~66,000 kg ??? kg...=============================================================="X" Denotes Expendable Version"R" Denotes LEO Refueling, per launch basis

Quote from: MATTBLAK on 06/03/2017 02:26 AMAlso; the expended core but the two boosters landing downrange on the barges.There are many theoretical options, but I think Ed wants to concentrate on the practical and more likely options.

Also; the expended core but the two boosters landing downrange on the barges.

Updated with BFR added, based on the attached chart from Elon's September 29, 2017 presentation.==============================================================Vehicle 1st Flt TransLunar TransMars GTO ==============================================================Falcon 9 Blk 5 2017? ~3,000 kg? ~2,500 kg? 5,500 kgFalcon 9 Blk 5-X 2017? ~5,500 kg 4,020 kg 8,300 kgFalcon Heavy 2018? ~5,500 kg ~4,900 kg 8,000 kgFalcon Heavy-X 2018? ~20,500 kg 16,800 kg 26,700 kgSLS Blk 1 2019? 24,500 kg 19,500 kg N/AVulcan Centaur 56x 2019? ~8,300 kg ~6,200 kg 10,200 kgNew Glenn 2 Stg 2020? ~7,500 kg? ~3,000 kg? 13,000 kgNGL-5xx 2021? ~6,000 kg ~4,700 kg 8,500 kgSLS Blk 1B 2021? 39,000 kg 32,000 kg N/ABFR 2022? 0 kg 0 kg ~20,000 kgVulcan ACES 56x 2023? 14,000 kg 10,500 kg 17,200 kgNGL-5xx-XL 2023? ~10,300 kg ~8,200 kg? 14,700 kgNew Glenn 3 Stg 2025? ~25,000 kg? ~20,000 kg? ~30,000 kg?SLS Blk 2 2028? >45,000 kg >37,600 kg N/A=============================================================="X" Denotes Expendable VersionUpdated 10-06-17{/pre] - Ed Kyle

==============================================================Vehicle 1st Flt TransLunar TransMars GTO ==============================================================Falcon 9 Blk 5 2017? ~3,000 kg? ~2,500 kg? 5,500 kgFalcon 9 Blk 5-X 2017? ~5,500 kg 4,020 kg 8,300 kgFalcon Heavy 2018? ~5,500 kg ~4,900 kg 8,000 kgFalcon Heavy-X 2018? ~20,500 kg 16,800 kg 26,700 kgSLS Blk 1 2019? 24,500 kg 19,500 kg N/AVulcan Centaur 56x 2019? ~8,300 kg ~6,200 kg 10,200 kgNew Glenn 2 Stg 2020? ~7,500 kg? ~3,000 kg? 13,000 kgNGL-5xx 2021? ~6,000 kg ~4,700 kg 8,500 kgSLS Blk 1B 2021? 39,000 kg 32,000 kg N/ABFR 2022? 0 kg 0 kg ~20,000 kgVulcan ACES 56x 2023? 14,000 kg 10,500 kg 17,200 kgNGL-5xx-XL 2023? ~10,300 kg ~8,200 kg? 14,700 kgNew Glenn 3 Stg 2025? ~25,000 kg? ~20,000 kg? ~30,000 kg?SLS Blk 2 2028? >45,000 kg >37,600 kg N/A=============================================================="X" Denotes Expendable VersionUpdated 10-06-17{/pre] - Ed Kyle

Based on this slide the 2017 BFR/BFS is expected to have a IMLEO of 335 tonnes (250 payload and 85 vehicle dry mass), if both vehicles are fully expended.

Quote from: envy887 on 03/19/2018 07:35 PMBased on this slide the 2017 BFR/BFS is expected to have a IMLEO of 335 tonnes (250 payload and 85 vehicle dry mass), if both vehicles are fully expended. And of course 'fully expended' in this context means 'second stage can be recovered after a lunar flyby, aerobrake into LEO and one tanker refuel in orbit'. Musk mentioned 'around twice' the payload expendable at sxsw. This more-or-less tallies with the above estimate, if you assume the 150 tons is including 20 tons of landing fuel. (this is never quite mentioned, 'around' could work with either including or not.).

Fully expended might mean "no TPS", which would preclude a return of any kind.

Quote from: envy887 on 03/19/2018 07:59 PMFully expended might mean "no TPS", which would preclude a return of any kind. It makes it notably more annoying.Catching a stage coming back from the moon at some 3km/s is quite doable with margin with a nominal BFS.But if you're doing that, you may as well refuel it in orbit as well, and get the whole 250 tons in LLO. (upper stage can manage TEI itself).For the cost of an expended BFR and ten or so unexpended flights.The question of course arises if there is much point in doing this over 150 tons, but it's a fun thought exercise.