Author Topic: SpaceX: Mars Colonial Transporter "MCT" -- Speculation (not Raptor)  (Read 703182 times)

Offline GalacticIntruder

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New SC Methane Engine (Raptor), New 7m+ Core, , 150T or larger.



http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/spacex-aims-big-with-massive-new-rocket-377687/

Update: 23/11/2012

The super-heavy rocket is not the MCT. The MCT now appears to be an EDS and Crew/Habitat module for Mars transport and landing. 

Update: 06/06/2013

Elon confirmed MCT as Mars Colonial Transporter!

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/342566837852200960
« Last Edit: 06/06/2013 08:13 pm by GalacticIntruder »
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Offline neilh

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Any guesses on what "MCT" stands for?
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Offline Airlock

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I really hope the M stands for "Mars" :)

Offline go4mars

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Nice to hear they are still thinking along the same lines.  I'm guessing the M stands for Mars.  Nothing to see here.  See older threads.
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline modemeagle

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Maybe "Massive Cargo Transport"

As Go4Mars said, nothing really new to speculate at.

Offline neilh

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I'm also frankly struggling with figuring out a business case for this...
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Offline upjin

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New Engine, New Core, 150T or larger.



http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/spacex-aims-big-with-massive-new-rocket-377687/

This is interesting because this looks like a more direct signal that SpaceX will compete with SLS.  In addition to already having plans to launch Falcon Heavy in 2013/14 that can lift 53 metric tons. 

Offline GalacticIntruder

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I'm also frankly struggling with figuring out a business case for this...

I too. Probably not one, for several decades. They would do it for fun if they have dough, either through normal F9/FH revenues, or sell it to the government(s), cheaper alternatives to SLS Block 2 or something. My guess is for that.

A super rocket will be 3-5 billion dollars.
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Offline apace

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About the engine, as they have the people and the development of Merlin 1 and Draco will be finished or slowed down in the next months and I you like to keep this rocket engine people in your company, you need to give them some new challenge... will cost you nothing more than today.

Offline neilh

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I'm also frankly struggling with figuring out a business case for this...

I too. Probably not one, for several decades. They would do it for fun if they have dough, either through normal F9/FH revenues, or sell it to the government(s), cheaper alternatives to SLS Block 2 or something. My guess is for that.

A super rocket will be 3-5 billion dollars.

Right... I mean Falcon Heavy makes sense because it uses the same engines, same cores, existing road transportation structure, and allows SpaceX to enter a market where demand already exists. None of these things would be true for the MCT. ::shrugs::
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Offline GalacticIntruder

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About the engine, as they have the people and the development of Merlin 1 and Draco will be finished or slowed down in the next months and I you like to keep this rocket engine people in your company, you need to give them some new challenge... will cost you nothing more than today.

Maybe, but there are plenty RP1 and LH2 rocket engines already done. I just assumed they would go to a TRW TR106 like design and hydro-lox upper stage for super-heavy. This article says not RP1, and SpaceX won't do LH2 first stage, so what is that? Methane/Propane, stage 1, Stage 2?


 
« Last Edit: 10/15/2012 09:26 pm by GalacticIntruder »
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Offline upjin

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I'm also frankly struggling with figuring out a business case for this...

A SpaceX Super Heavy would only make sense (at the moment) if NASA is the main customer, though a number of other companies and friendly governments could join in.  This can be seen as an advertisement of willingness to provide the service.  So the more SLS is being pressed for, the more SpaceX would present their cheaper alternative.

The business case has already been made for the Falcon Heavy, and they are progressing with building it. 

Building a new rocket engine can be in line with bringing down costs and other issues with the presently proposed Falcon Heavy, which would use 27 rocket engines for the first stage.

If they are going to build a new rocket engine anyway, for use with the Falcon Heavy, then it does put them in the position where they can propose a Super Heavy.

Offline IRobot

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I'm also frankly struggling with figuring out a business case for this...
The man wants to retire to Mars, he does not need a business case :)

Now seriously, my guess is that they will offer such a low price per Kg that other companies, like Bigelow, will create that market.

One thing to notice is that he specifically said 7 meter diameter. This might  exclude multicore and surely excludes wing vehicles.

Offline R.Simko

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New Engine, New Core, 150T or larger.



http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/spacex-aims-big-with-massive-new-rocket-377687/

This is interesting because this looks like a more direct signal that SpaceX will compete with SLS.  In addition to already having plans to launch Falcon Heavy in 2013/14 that can lift 53 metric tons. 

Perhaps compliment would be a better word.  NASA does the crew aspect and SpaceX wants to do the cargo part.

Offline StephenB

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One thing to notice is that he specifically said 7 meter diameter. This might  exclude multicore and surely excludes wing vehicles.

That is the core diameter right? So might the fairing diameter be even bigger?

Offline go4mars

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Alright.  Without linking to prior discussions on this forum:  I suspect that it is methane, will be reusable, and having that much excess upmass will enable recovery of pretty much any upperstage.  The crossfeeding heavy version of it won't be for a good long while but will be planned for, it will be constructed very close to the pad or perhaps to water, 15 meter diameter more likely than "7", heavy version will double as a hypersonic transport booster for the rich someday, heavy version will send tens of thousands of people to Mars, it will have at least 5 engines per core, it will be cheaper than EELV's of today per launch (not including payload), and 99% of you will doubt all of these points I suggest.
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline Robotbeat

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Does SpaceX want it reusable, at least for the first stage? If so, methane makes sense for fuel if only because of the cost of fuel, low toxicity, and cleanliness (mostly talking about the fact that it will just dissipate if spilled or partially burned, doesn't really coke in the engines, etc).

I personally don't get too excited about these sorts of mega launch vehicles. I'd rather they (whether Elon, NASA, ULA, etc) fly smaller ones more often and cheaply, instead of just promising the next-big-thing.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2012 09:39 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline go4mars

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That is the core diameter right? So might the fairing diameter be even bigger?
Certainly.
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline go4mars

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I'd rather they (whether Elon, NASA, ULA, etc) fly smaller ones more often and cheaply, instead of just promising the next-big-thing.
If, like many on this forum, Elon believes SLS is likely to be cancelled, then sharing firm growth plans may be wise (and prudent as a tax payer/patriot).  On the otherhand, if he thinks SLS is likely to exist, then from the perspective of a sci-fi nerd whose goals are bigger than his bank account, a little friendly competition is unlikely to slow down the timeframe or ambition of SLS.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2012 09:44 pm by go4mars »
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline kirghizstan

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i'll start off by saying i am a complete novice and i'm going all Dee Brown with this guess (if you don't understand the Dee Brown reference he did a basketball dunk "without looking" http://i.cdn.turner.com/nba/nba/media/celtics/dee_brown_dunk400550.jpg).

doesn't law dictate that if there is a commercial launcher that can lift a payload for less than a NASA launcher they are required to use it?  wouldn't the business case be to build the rocket as cheap as possible and charge maybe 25% less than SLS would cost (throwing random numbers out there).  I think SpaceX has shown that they can develop rockets at rates far less than NASA could ever dream of.  if they can produce a rocket that exceeds SLS's capabilities, the development costs are something they can afford to do, and costs less to launch than SLS, the business case is created by the law.  while NASA would be the only user in the beginning, there would probably be certain syenergies that could be used across SpaceX's rockets that would keep the overhead for this monster low enough to handle low flight rates and help to make the business case plausable.

of course when someone says they have this new thing but they haven't decided on the engines yet, and are still 1-3 years from discussing many of the details i'm still a bit skeptical.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2012 09:55 pm by kirghizstan »

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