Author Topic: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5  (Read 39831 times)

Offline mr. mark

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Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« on: 05/26/2011 06:36 PM »
This topic is purely speculative and is not to be taken as a direction for Spacex policy but...

What would the possibility be for a Falcon Heavy with 5 cores or in other words a Falcon 5, with a central Falcon Heavy core and 4 Falcon Heavy outer cores not to be confused with the already canceled Falcon 5. How would it's lifting power match up again a Saturn 5? 

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #1 on: 05/26/2011 06:46 PM »
Well, setting aside all considerations on whether a 45-engine parallel core is practical, the numbers go like this: The core would have a launch thrust of 6.3Mlbf or 28MN (45 x Merlin-1d, each rated at 140klbf).  At a wild guess, I'd say that it would probably be able to punt about 80t of dead mass into orbit assuming the current kerolox upper stage.

The obvious problem is that you'd need a radically re-engineered strongback and a new pad.

Secondly, what would you launch on it though? I doubt that Falcon Heavy can manage much larger payloads than those that would fit inside its 5.5m PLF.  It literally wouldn't be worth the effort of re-engineering the cores to handle the loads because there would be nothing to do with it.


[edit]
Another thought: I suspect that Falcon Heavy has already got us close to the maximum performance of the upper stage through TLI or TMI.  I'm pretty sure that you can actually lose performance by not having a powerful enough upper stage to continue the core's work effectively.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2011 06:49 PM by Ben the Space Brit »
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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #2 on: 05/26/2011 06:46 PM »
My guesses:

Lift capacity would be very close to (5/3)*53 = 88 tonnes, maybe 90.

I suspect that the biggest problem would be pad infrastructure. SLC 40 would not be able to handle it (flame trench too small, etc.).

Also, it would really be preferable for an LV in that class to have a PLF wider than 5m.

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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #3 on: 05/26/2011 06:52 PM »
I would note that a theoretical 7-core Falcon Heavy would be in the same payload class as Saturn V ((7/3)*53 = 123 tonnes). But with the same set of problems as above - and also the problem of re-engineering the cores to handle the increased payload mass as Ben mentioned above.

Edit: Maybe not quite 123 tonnes as you get diminishing returns with cross-feed after you go beyond 2 effective stages (on the cores).
« Last Edit: 05/26/2011 06:55 PM by Michael Bloxham »

Offline ugordan

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #4 on: 05/26/2011 06:56 PM »
What's so special or magic about Saturn V's lifting power???

Offline Cherokee43v6

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #5 on: 05/26/2011 07:00 PM »
What's so special or magic about Saturn V's lifting power???

Benchmarking, as the largest successfully launched and utilized rocket to date.
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Offline ugordan

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #6 on: 05/26/2011 07:02 PM »
What's so special or magic about Saturn V's lifting power???

Benchmarking, as the largest successfully launched and utilized rocket to date.

In other words: rocket pr0n.

Where is the requirement for such lifting power today and why Saturn V's LEO numbers of all things? This is all just about bragging rights.

Offline mr. mark

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #7 on: 05/26/2011 07:04 PM »
Maybe a better follow up question would be, How may cores can to be added to the Falcon 9 Heavy without massive redesign and how much would that improve the vehicle lifting capacity. How far engineering wise can the vehicle be pushed to the edge?

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #8 on: 05/26/2011 07:05 PM »
What's so special or magic about Saturn V's lifting power???

Just having a bit of fun? ;-)

This makes me wonder what exactly would need to be modified for such a multi-core beast to take the increased payload mass? Perhaps just the centre core would need to be modified? Or perhaps nothing at all? (Are we making assumptions?)

Also, I just thought of another potential problem: Base heating.

(Perhaps we could solve both of these via a 6-core variant - with the centre core being a strengthened and lengthened version of falcons current (air-lit) upper stage? I.e. a strengthened core with a Merlin Vacuum on the end of it)
« Last Edit: 05/26/2011 07:20 PM by Michael Bloxham »

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #9 on: 05/26/2011 07:06 PM »
How may cores can to be added to the Falcon 9 Heavy without massive redesign

Of the rocket or the pad?

Offline go4mars

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #10 on: 05/26/2011 07:07 PM »
Depends.  If the tanks were cross-fed as in 2 strap-ons empty completely, then drop off leaving the rest ~full, then the other 2 strap-ons empty completely, leaving the core full.  Integration could still be horizontal if done 8o8 configuration, but you would need a big fat PLF unless your payload was amazingly dense. 
« Last Edit: 05/27/2011 06:03 AM by go4mars »
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Offline mr. mark

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #11 on: 05/26/2011 07:16 PM »
We're just mainly dealing with the launch vehicle here. This is a theoretical discussion.

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #12 on: 05/26/2011 07:24 PM »
It would occur to me that strengthening of the cores to take the increased payload mass would not be required if the mass is distributed through two or more cores. Perhaps by the elimination of cross-feed for the final 2 or 3 cores? E.g. effectively 2 Falcon Heavies w/ cross-feed lifting a non-crossfed 3-core core stage? That would allow 3 times Falcon Heavies payload mass without increasing the loads on the cores. Although I am not sure how the upper stage would work...
« Last Edit: 05/26/2011 07:28 PM by Michael Bloxham »

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #13 on: 05/26/2011 07:27 PM »
It would occur to me that strengthening of the cores to take the increased payload mass would not be required if the mass is distributed through two or more cores.

It can't be, the cores drop off.  The upperstage and central core must take the load

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #14 on: 05/26/2011 07:30 PM »
It would occur to me that strengthening of the cores to take the increased payload mass would not be required if the mass is distributed through two or more cores.

It can't be, the cores drop off.  The upperstage and central core must take the load

But it is possible that you can have more than one "central core" to support your final payload. (Although you would lose a little performance that otherwise mgiht be gained from staging.)

Edit: Imagine, for example, two identical Falcon Heavies attached back-to-back. Such an arrangement could support twice the payload of one Falcon Heavy without increasing the loads through the core stages.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2011 07:32 PM by Michael Bloxham »

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #15 on: 05/26/2011 07:33 PM »
What's so special or magic about Saturn V's lifting power???

It got three humans as far as the Moon with spacecraft capable of stopping there and putting two of them on the surface in one launch.  It is thus considered the gold standard by which LVs are judged, despite its size, cost and complexity.  Purely FWIW, I suspect that, in the long term, the ability to maintain a crewed mission rate of 4/year or higher to the Moon will ultimately be seen as a lot more important in terms of BEO performance, but I digress.

I suspect that is what we're looking at in this post too: Is there a model or conceivable evolution of Falcon-9/Heavy that offers single-launch lunar reach.  In terms of replicating the Saturn V feat, I'd say the answer is 'no'.  However, I think that a Falcon Heavy (tri-core w. cross-feed) with the highest-performance Raptor (150klbf/470s) upper stage might be able to do Apollo 8 with a Dragon with its own MPS.
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Offline baldusi

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #16 on: 05/26/2011 07:36 PM »
Perhaps we could solve both of these via a 6-core variant - with the centre core being a strengthened and lengthened version of falcons current (air-lit) upper stage? I.e. a strengthened core with a Merlin Vacuum on the end of it
Well, if you take a normal core, and put a single Merlin Vac, and then strap two Falcon Heavies to the side, you'd get a center with dual US in series, and two Heavies core plus boosters on the side. It would have something like four effective stages. And the separation issue is simplified since you can join the four boosters in pairs and separate them together. You'd have 33.63N, or 3,429mT of thrust. It should weight something around 3,000mT.
Of course that the fairing has something like 125m, so you could potentially put a lot of water, concrete or lead in LEO. But anything significantly bigger, would be a problem.

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #17 on: 05/26/2011 07:41 PM »
Perhaps we could solve both of these via a 6-core variant - with the centre core being a strengthened and lengthened version of falcons current (air-lit) upper stage? I.e. a strengthened core with a Merlin Vacuum on the end of it
Well, if you take a normal core, and put a single Merlin Vac, and then strap two Falcon Heavies to the side, you'd get a center with dual US in series, and two Heavies core plus boosters on the side. It would have something like four effective stages. And the separation issue is simplified since you can join the four boosters in pairs and separate them together. You'd have 33.63N, or 3,429mT of thrust. It should weight something around 3,000mT.
Of course that the fairing has something like 125m, so you could potentially put a lot of water, concrete or lead in LEO. But anything significantly bigger, would be a problem.

Someone earlier mentioned that a big problem with enlarging the fairing is the increased loads through the core stage at Max-Q. But would it be theoretically possible to distribute these loads through more than one core seeing as none of the cores drop off before Max-Q?

Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #18 on: 05/26/2011 07:42 PM »
This topic is purely speculative and is not to be taken as a direction for Spacex policy but...

What would the possibility be for a Falcon Heavy with 5 cores or in other words a Falcon 5, with a central Falcon Heavy core and 4 Falcon Heavy outer cores not to be confused with the already canceled Falcon 5. How would it's lifting power match up again a Saturn 5? 
Schillings to the rescue:

65.4 tonnes.
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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #19 on: 05/26/2011 07:44 PM »
65.4 tonnes.

Only? Why?

Edit: Did you consider cross-feed from two CCBs to the core, and none on the other two CCBs?
« Last Edit: 05/26/2011 07:46 PM by Michael Bloxham »

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #20 on: 05/26/2011 07:46 PM »
It would occur to me that strengthening of the cores to take the increased payload mass would not be required if the mass is distributed through two or more cores.

It can't be, the cores drop off.  The upperstage and central core must take the load

But it is possible that you can have more than one "central core" to support your final payload. (Although you would lose a little performance that otherwise mgiht be gained from staging.)

Edit: Imagine, for example, two identical Falcon Heavies attached back-to-back. Such an arrangement could support twice the payload of one Falcon Heavy without increasing the loads through the core stages.

Build a wider core, it would be cheaper

Offline Jim

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #21 on: 05/26/2011 07:48 PM »
Edit: Imagine, for example, two identical Falcon Heavies attached back-to-back. Such an arrangement could support twice the payload of one Falcon Heavy without increasing the loads through the core stages.

Not true, as long as there is a little movement between the core, one core would see more loads than the other.
« Last Edit: 05/26/2011 07:48 PM by Jim »

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #22 on: 05/26/2011 07:53 PM »
Edit: Imagine, for example, two identical Falcon Heavies attached back-to-back. Such an arrangement could support twice the payload of one Falcon Heavy without increasing the loads through the core stages.

Not true, as long as there is a little movement between the core, one core would see more loads than the other.

Perhaps, but presumably not much more. Unless the bending moment is really high, the loads should be more-or-less equally distributed.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #23 on: 05/26/2011 07:58 PM »
65.4 tonnes.

Only? Why?

I presume that it is the aforementioned inefficiency of an enormously powerful core with a mediocre-at-best upper stage.  There is only so much that the FHUS can lift, no matter how much the hypothetical limit of the core.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #24 on: 05/26/2011 08:00 PM »
65.4 tonnes.

Only? Why?

I presume that it is the aforementioned inefficiency of an enormously powerful core with a mediocre-at-best upper stage.  There is only so much that the FHUS can lift, no matter how much the hypothetical limit of the core.
Yeah, the Falcon Heavy will need its upper stage to be bigger than the existing Falcon 9 to get the rated performance (53 mT). They'll have to upgrade the Merlin Vacuum, which they have the capability to do (after all, they're building the Merlin 1D which is a big step up from Merlin 1C).
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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #25 on: 05/26/2011 08:04 PM »
I thought that, because of cross-feed, the core stage functions well enough as an intermediary "upper stage" that the real upper stage does not need to be greatly enlarged?

Offline baldusi

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #26 on: 05/26/2011 08:07 PM »
Without a Melin 2 or so, the smoothest growth option for the Falcon that I see, is AJAX-F. Seriously.

Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #27 on: 05/26/2011 08:10 PM »
I thought that, because of cross-feed, the core stage functions well enough as an intermediary "upper stage" that the real upper stage does not need to be greatly enlarged?
Not really.  The issue is that it comes down to efficiency in the end, Merlin Vac, even if upgraded, still is anemic for performance, being a kerolox engine.  You don't gain a huge boost from 4 cross-fed cores, and you increase complexity.  It simply runs out of fuel too fast.

Only having two cross-feed and the other two normal does not improve the situation.

I found a similar issue with AJAX as well, adding more cores did not improve as much as the initial add-on.  Only AJAX was paired with a high-energy core, which could take full advantage of the boost.  Falcon, not so much, due to it's all kerolox design.  If you put  even a fully stock Centaur on top of it, you'd gain a dozen tonnes easily.
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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #28 on: 05/26/2011 08:13 PM »
Without a Melin 2 or so, the smoothest growth option for the Falcon that I see, is AJAX-F. Seriously.

I like AJAX-F too, but the problem with it that I see is the poor production rates of the core and upper stage. A Falcon Super Heavy on the other hand, could utilize the same high-production rate components as Falcon Heavy.

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #29 on: 05/26/2011 08:22 PM »
I thought that, because of cross-feed, the core stage functions well enough as an intermediary "upper stage" that the real upper stage does not need to be greatly enlarged?
Not really.  The issue is that it comes down to efficiency in the end, Merlin Vac, even if upgraded, still is anemic for performance, being a kerolox engine.  You don't gain a huge boost from 4 cross-fed cores, and you increase complexity.  It simply runs out of fuel too fast.

Only having two cross-feed and the other two normal does not improve the situation.

I found a similar issue with AJAX as well, adding more cores did not improve as much as the initial add-on.  Only AJAX was paired with a high-energy core, which could take full advantage of the boost.  Falcon, not so much, due to it's all kerolox design.  If you put  even a fully stock Centaur on top of it, you'd gain a dozen tonnes easily.

Understood. However, absolute performance is inferior to cost-efficiecy, and from this standpoint SpaceX seem to prefer the all-kero approach.

How about the case where the centre core is powered by a single air-lit Merlin Vac (i.e. it is a big stretched upper stage)?

Offline baldusi

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #30 on: 05/26/2011 08:26 PM »
If SpaceX had the Raptor available, I bet you pennies to dollars that they would be using it a lot. The real issue of hydrolox is the high upfront cost. And the truth is that given their oversized first stages, they can cover every single commercial and national interests beside whatever NASA want for human BEO.
So I don't see anything new from SpaceX until 2020, at the very least.

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #31 on: 05/27/2011 12:25 AM »
This topic is purely speculative and is not to be taken as a direction for Spacex policy but...

What would the possibility be for a Falcon Heavy with 5 cores or in other words a Falcon 5, with a central Falcon Heavy core and 4 Falcon Heavy outer cores not to be confused with the already canceled Falcon 5. How would it's lifting power match up again a Saturn 5? 

It's nice to dream but atm I more concerned about the supply missions to the ISS.
 
Not just spacex but the other companies as well.
 
 
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Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #32 on: 05/27/2011 12:36 AM »
Without a Melin 2 or so, the smoothest growth option for the Falcon that I see, is AJAX-F. Seriously.

I like AJAX-F too, but the problem with it that I see is the poor production rates of the core and upper stage. A Falcon Super Heavy on the other hand, could utilize the same high-production rate components as Falcon Heavy.
The core is fine with poor production rates, however, if you analyze it's cost breakdown.  And upper stage is a commodity unit, not a custom, so you would be in no different position regardless.

The Super Heavy, however, requires all new factory tooling, and would have next to no commonality with the lower end vehicles.  You'd have the Saturn V problem all over again.  The Falcon-X Heavy would be a path I's sooner choose than the Super Heavy.
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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #33 on: 05/27/2011 01:14 AM »
I like AJAX-F too, but the problem with it that I see is the poor production rates of the core and upper stage. A Falcon Super Heavy on the other hand, could utilize the same high-production rate components as Falcon Heavy.
The core is fine with poor production rates, however, if you analyze it's cost breakdown. And upper stage is a commodity unit, not a custom, so you would be in no different position regardless.

You're probably right. Perhaps what I meant to say is that - due to SpaceX's low-cost production model - the marginal cost of Falcon CCBs and Falcon upper stages would be much lower than entirely different core and upper stages.

The Super Heavy, however, requires all new factory tooling, and would have next to no commonality with the lower end vehicles.  You'd have the Saturn V problem all over again.  The Falcon-X Heavy would be a path I's sooner choose than the Super Heavy.

That is your assumption. I would speculate that there are ways to make a Falcon Super Heavy work without requiring significant re-engineering of the Falcon CCBs or even a significantly new upper stage. It might not be optimal in terms of mass-to-LEO for a given gross ground mass - but that is not what SpaceX are trying to achieve. Kg/$ is the name of the game.

- Mike

Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #34 on: 05/27/2011 01:41 AM »
I like AJAX-F too, but the problem with it that I see is the poor production rates of the core and upper stage. A Falcon Super Heavy on the other hand, could utilize the same high-production rate components as Falcon Heavy.
The core is fine with poor production rates, however, if you analyze it's cost breakdown. And upper stage is a commodity unit, not a custom, so you would be in no different position regardless.

You're probably right. Perhaps what I meant to say is that - due to SpaceX's low-cost production model - the marginal cost of Falcon CCBs and Falcon upper stages would be much lower than entirely different core and upper stages.

The Super Heavy, however, requires all new factory tooling, and would have next to no commonality with the lower end vehicles.  You'd have the Saturn V problem all over again.  The Falcon-X Heavy would be a path I's sooner choose than the Super Heavy.

That is your assumption. I would speculate that there are ways to make a Falcon Super Heavy work without requiring significant re-engineering of the Falcon CCBs or even a significantly new upper stage. It might not be optimal in terms of mass-to-LEO for a given gross ground mass - but that is not what SpaceX are trying to achieve. Kg/$ is the name of the game.

- Mike
I am not sure how. Remember the Super Heavy, aka Falcon-XX, is a 10m, three stage monster sporting 6 Merlin-2 engines on the first stage.
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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #35 on: 05/27/2011 05:01 AM »
Sorry, by "Super Heavy" I meant to denote multiple Falcon CCB clusterings beyond the size of Falcon Heavy. (i.e. the "Falcon Heavy 5" 5xFCCB and also 7xFCCB concepts discussed in this thread.)

Offline go4mars

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #36 on: 05/27/2011 06:14 AM »
Remember the Super Heavy, aka Falcon-XX, is a 10m, three stage monster sporting 6 Merlin-2 engines on the first stage.

I thought F-XX was a 2 stage idea...
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Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #37 on: 05/27/2011 06:19 AM »
Remember the Super Heavy, aka Falcon-XX, is a 10m, three stage monster sporting 6 Merlin-2 engines on the first stage.

I thought F-XX was a 2 stage idea...
Don't see how they can plan on getting the listed performance with only 2 stages.
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Offline Halidon

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #38 on: 05/27/2011 07:20 AM »
Don't see how they can plan on getting the listed performance with only 2 stages.
Why not? The RAC-2 team seems to think it can hit some pretty impressive numbers with 2 stages.

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #39 on: 05/27/2011 12:56 PM »
I didn't read through the whole thread to see if anybody brought this up already, buuut, I don't think you can get a big enough faring on a 3.6 meter body to make 80 or 90 metric ton lift ability worth it.
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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #40 on: 05/27/2011 01:12 PM »
Has anyone brought up, if SpaceX though they could get to Heavy lift by going to five or seven cores, would they have not included it in growth options they have presented in the past?

Or did I miss the powerpoint?
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Offline madscientist197

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #41 on: 05/27/2011 01:56 PM »
I haven't seen it. But then again, that might just be because SpaceX would much rather sell Nasa a Falcon X, and Nasa (at least in the past) would scuttle any such plan due to reliability concerns.

Personally, if SpaceX can prove that 27 engines and their booster staging is reliable, then develop Merlin 2, I don't see it being a showstopper. Plus it makes a lot more financial sense, in terms of amortising the fixed costs of the common core over a much larger number of flights (commercial flights, not just HSF missions.)

Then again, it is possible that there is some unknown factor that prevents this from being a viable concept.
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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #42 on: 05/27/2011 02:30 PM »
Don't see how they can plan on getting the listed performance with only 2 stages.
Why not? The RAC-2 team seems to think it can hit some pretty impressive numbers with 2 stages.
They also use high energy fuel. SpaceX does not.
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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #43 on: 05/27/2011 02:48 PM »
I haven't seen it. But then again, that might just be because SpaceX would much rather sell Nasa a Falcon X

And why would SpaceX prefer to sell them a Falcon X over this?

Would they make more money on a Falcon X because Falcon X is cheaper to develop, manufacture, and operate?

This thread implies that SpaceX missed something obvious with Falcon X, and implies that a 5/7 lego core vehicle is better than what SpaceX has planned to meet this lift class.
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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #44 on: 05/27/2011 02:54 PM »
I haven't seen it. But then again, that might just be because SpaceX would much rather sell Nasa a Falcon X

And why would SpaceX prefer to sell them a Falcon X over this?

Would they make more money on a Falcon X because Falcon X is cheaper to develop, manufacture, and operate?

This thread implies that SpaceX missed something obvious with Falcon X, and implies that a 5/7 lego core vehicle is better than what SpaceX has planned to meet this lift class.
It depends on the demand.  If there is a need for 4+ flights per year of 110 tonnes, the SuperHeavy makes sense.  If there is a need for 1 flight per year, it does not.  This is due to the costs associated with maintaining the manufacturing capability for such a beast.

It also depends on SpaceX's reuse.  I know they were discussing a reusable first stage at one time.  If they were able to do that, then the SuperHeavy also makes sense, as it's large manufacturing cost would be offset by being able to be reused multiple times.
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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #45 on: 05/27/2011 03:06 PM »
Has anyone brought up, if SpaceX though they could get to Heavy lift by going to five or seven cores, would they have not included it in growth options they have presented in the past?

Or did I miss the powerpoint?

A little old now, but...

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #46 on: 05/27/2011 03:09 PM »
I didn't read through the whole thread to see if anybody brought this up already, buuut, I don't think you can get a big enough faring on a 3.6 meter body to make 80 or 90 metric ton lift ability worth it.

I think this has been discussed in a few places. Here's one thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25103.0

Offline baldusi

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #47 on: 05/27/2011 03:15 PM »
Don't see how they can plan on getting the listed performance with only 2 stages.
Why not? The RAC-2 team seems to think it can hit some pretty impressive numbers with 2 stages.
They also use high energy fuel. SpaceX does not.

Please, let's remember that Markusic doesn't works on SpaceX anymore, so the validity of the presentation is questionable. But as I understand from his presentation, the underlying assumption of the Falcon XX was a Raptor US. There's no other way to achieve 140mT to LEO.
The Falcon X, on the other hand seems to be consistent with an all kerolox design. The width is just right for a two Merlin Vac US. And if we take the 3.3 payload multiplier to LEO of the Falcon 9 Block 3 to Falcon Heavy, then the 38mT of Falcon X is exactly 125mT of Falcon X Heavy.

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #48 on: 05/27/2011 03:59 PM »
Perhaps we could solve both of these via a 6-core variant - with the centre core being a strengthened and lengthened version of falcons current (air-lit) upper stage? I.e. a strengthened core with a Merlin Vacuum on the end of it
Well, if you take a normal core, and put a single Merlin Vac, and then strap two Falcon Heavies to the side, you'd get a center with dual US in series, and two Heavies core plus boosters on the side. It would have something like four effective stages. And the separation issue is simplified since you can join the four boosters in pairs and separate them together. You'd have 33.63N, or 3,429mT of thrust. It should weight something around 3,000mT.
Of course that the fairing has something like 125m, so you could potentially put a lot of water, concrete or lead in LEO. But anything significantly bigger, would be a problem.

My thoughts are beginning to coalesce around this type of solution. I wonder, if a larger fairing were to be made, could it be supported by 3 of the core stages through Max Q?

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #49 on: 05/27/2011 04:09 PM »
Here are two variants that are in my mind at the moment:



The first is essentially two Falcon Heavies (*with* their upper stages) hugging a Falcon Heavy core.

The three FH upper stages would burn concurrently and together would support the large PLF.

Not sure what the best solution would be to ensure all three FH cores burn out at the same time...

Base heating may also be a problem.



The second is the same as the one discussed previously:

Essentially two Falcon Heavies *without* their upper stages, hugging what is effectively a Falcon CCB with a single air-lit Merlin Vac (which constitutes the upper stage).

The main issue here would be to allow the PLF loads to be distributed evenly through the three central CCBs through Max Q while still allowing two of these CCBs to be detached from the PLF later on in the flight...

Base heating may be less of a problem with this one, but protecting the Merlin Vac from acoustic loads / heating before it is lit later on could be tricky.

The CCB-derived upper stage might also not have enough thrust (with only one Merlin Vac) for the vehicle to be very efficient.
« Last Edit: 05/27/2011 04:12 PM by Michael Bloxham »

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #50 on: 05/27/2011 04:16 PM »
The first one is not viable.  Just make a fat upper stage.

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #51 on: 05/27/2011 04:21 PM »
It would be smarter to instead develop the Falcon-X and Raptor than all of this.  Once you have those, the Falcon-X heavy would be able to handle missions up to the weight range, while scaling down to the more common payload sizes.
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Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #52 on: 05/27/2011 04:34 PM »
The first one is not viable.

Why not? (Presumably the upper stages could be tied together structurally without too much problem?)

Just make a fat upper stage.

But then you how do you ensure that the PLF loads are distributed through all three of the "second stage" CCBs?

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #53 on: 05/27/2011 04:44 PM »
It would be smarter to instead develop the Falcon-X and Raptor than all of this.  Once you have those, the Falcon-X heavy would be able to handle missions up to the weight range, while scaling down to the more common payload sizes.

PLF size is still limiting in this case though. Unless you can find a sensible way of distributing PLF loads through the outer CCBs through Max Q while allowing their later separation?

Y'know what? Maybe the best solution to that problem would be to simply eliminate the cross-feed and have all three CCBs burn out at the same time. Like Delta IV Heavy and also your Delta IV 7xCBC Super Heavy concept. Three Falcon 9 Upper stages would be tied together to form the upper stage - allowing a very large PLF to be supported through Max Q. Essentially just three Falcon 9's tied together. For the Super Heavy, tie 5 or 7 of them together ;)

- Mike

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #54 on: 05/27/2011 04:47 PM »
It would be smarter to instead develop the Falcon-X and Raptor than all of this.  Once you have those, the Falcon-X heavy would be able to handle missions up to the weight range, while scaling down to the more common payload sizes.

PLF size is still limiting in this case though. Unless you can find a sensible way of distributing PLF loads through the outer CCBs through Max Q while allowing their later separation?

Y'know what? Maybe the best solution to that problem would be to simply eliminate the cross-feed and have all three CCBs burn out at the same time. Like Delta IV Heavy and also your Delta IV 7xCBC Super Heavy concept. Three Falcon 9 Upper stages would be tied together to form the upper stage - allowing a very large PLF to be supported through Max Q. Essentially just three Falcon 9's tied together. For the Super Heavy, tie 5 or 7 of them together ;)

- Mike
Precisely.  Perfection is the enemy of good enough.  Cross-feed is a novel technique, and gives benefit, but also adds complexities, costs, and risks.  The elimination of it would render the design good-enough, and as a result you would have the power you need, and can dial-a-rocket.
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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #55 on: 05/27/2011 05:13 PM »
Just develop the 6m Raptor US, and strap the six boosters to the side. You're going to get something like an AJAX-F. There's simply no demand. Let them make the Falcon Heavy a reliable vehicle and then build the next big thing. Among other issues, you can't transport wide stages easily. I guess you can move 6m cores from their factory in LA to the Cape. But I ignore how are they going to send them to Texas.
I like more the Orbital design, where the Pad does double duty as static test pad. Or the Energiya, where the static test pad ended up doing double duty as the launch pad :P
That's what I like about the dual flat pad design (A and B). You have redundability with minimum overhead. In fact, I would put the factory also by the Cape. If you are a private company you shouldn't need to fill electoral districts. But if they didn't, there must be some other business reasons.

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #56 on: 05/27/2011 05:31 PM »
It would be smarter to instead develop the Falcon-X and Raptor than all of this.  Once you have those, the Falcon-X heavy would be able to handle missions up to the weight range, while scaling down to the more common payload sizes.

PLF size is still limiting in this case though. Unless you can find a sensible way of distributing PLF loads through the outer CCBs through Max Q while allowing their later separation?

Y'know what? Maybe the best solution to that problem would be to simply eliminate the cross-feed and have all three CCBs burn out at the same time. Like Delta IV Heavy and also your Delta IV 7xCBC Super Heavy concept. Three Falcon 9 Upper stages would be tied together to form the upper stage - allowing a very large PLF to be supported through Max Q. Essentially just three Falcon 9's tied together. For the Super Heavy, tie 5 or 7 of them together ;)

- Mike
Precisely.  Perfection is the enemy of good enough.  Cross-feed is a novel technique, and gives benefit, but also adds complexities, costs, and risks.  The elimination of it would render the design good-enough, and as a result you would have the power you need, and can dial-a-rocket.

Great. Taking things further, I wonder if this would allow you to have the PLF supported directly by all of the CCBs - with the second stage closeted within the fairing (like the Atlas 501 below)? Although can you really afford to eject the fairing at first stage sep? (Edit: But would you have to?)
« Last Edit: 05/27/2011 05:59 PM by Michael Bloxham »

Offline baldusi

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #57 on: 05/27/2011 05:45 PM »
You've developed the Saturn I.

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #58 on: 05/27/2011 06:52 PM »
You've developed the Saturn I.
Bingo.  The Delta SuperHeavy is also a Saturn I. I figure, if it works, why mess with it?
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #59 on: 05/27/2011 07:10 PM »
You've developed the Saturn I.
Bingo.  The Delta SuperHeavy is also a Saturn I. I figure, if it works, why mess with it?

Because both the Saturn I and Saturn V where not affordable.

Of course this thread is about a Saturn V class vehicle, and not about addressing the current dearth of payloads in this class.
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Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #60 on: 05/27/2011 07:27 PM »
You've developed the Saturn I.
Bingo.  The Delta SuperHeavy is also a Saturn I. I figure, if it works, why mess with it?

Because both the Saturn I and Saturn V where not affordable.

Of course this thread is about a Saturn V class vehicle, and not about addressing the current dearth of payloads in this class.
That is false.  We went over this, the Saturn I and V were, once the CR steps were taken into account, very affordable.  A Saturn V launch in todays dollars, once the cost reduction process is accounted for, would come in at ~$330 million.  Saturn IB would run ~$70 million and put 21 tonnes into LEO, although it was being phased out for Saturn II, which would have run a bit over $100 mil and lofted 48 tonnes.
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #61 on: 05/27/2011 08:10 PM »
This topic is purely speculative and is not to be taken as a direction for Spacex policy but...

What would the possibility be for a Falcon Heavy with 5 cores or in other words a Falcon 5, with a central Falcon Heavy core and 4 Falcon Heavy outer cores not to be confused with the already canceled Falcon 5. How would it's lifting power match up again a Saturn 5? 

To go that routed, you'd probably need a strengthened core.  And if you are redesigning the core, you sort of loose your "commonality" argument.
Besides, the 3.6m diameter cores are going to make it pretty hard to go very wide on your PLF, so even though you have the mass lifting capability, you will be very limited in what you can fit in that PLF.

I think, rather than redesigning the central core to handled the extra mass and bending moments, and being so limited by your PLF, design and build the FX.  Then you have a wider diameter core, you can go with a larger PLF, and you have the first piece in place to a true super heavy lifter in the FXH.  YOu might not need that for awhile, but it's ready to go if a customer comes along.  (Like NASA for a Mars mission.  Despite Zubrin's endorsement of the FH, and FXH would probably be a much better platform for trying to put humans on Mars)
The only really new tech the FX needs is the Merlin 2, and a new upper stage.  (put it might be able to use the F9US at first)  Everything else it really just a scaled up F9. Nothing really "new".  you'd need a new launch pad, but you'd need that anyway for a 5-core FH. 

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #62 on: 05/27/2011 08:19 PM »
The Falcon X, could also use the Falcon Heavy boosters, to offer some intermediate payload (38mT and 125mT are not a very smooth offer). And, as I stated before, it doesn't assumes Raptor. You could actually make it with something like 30 Merlin 1D, and you could loose up to 5 of those. So you would only need the new tooling, pad and transport. Would I invest in such a monster? nope. Do a see an immediate need? nope. Would it be possible and meet the payload requirements? Sure. But the number of engines have only been seen on the N1. Not some example you want to follow (even though that was not the N1 problem).

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #63 on: 05/27/2011 08:21 PM »
You've developed the Saturn I.

No.  Saturn I was not a cluster of rockets.  It was a rocket that used a cluster of tanks.  The tanks were based on existing tooling, but were stretched and modified so that each was not two tanks, fuel and oxidizer as in their original configurations on Redstone and Jupiter rockets, but one.  A unique propulsion section was developed and attached to the tank cluster. 

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« Last Edit: 05/27/2011 08:23 PM by edkyle99 »

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #64 on: 05/27/2011 09:08 PM »
That is false.  We went over this, the Saturn I and V were, once the CR steps were taken into account, very affordable.  A Saturn V launch in todays dollars, once the cost reduction process is accounted for, would come in at ~$330 million.  Saturn IB would run ~$70 million and put 21 tonnes into LEO, although it was being phased out for Saturn II, which would have run a bit over $100 mil and lofted 48 tonnes.
Given the costs of other US LVs, those numbers do not appear to be credible. Paper cost reductions are extremely effective, on paper.

You really think a Saturn IB would cost less than than a Delta II ? That a Saturn V would be comparable to Delta IV heavy ?

Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #65 on: 05/27/2011 10:18 PM »
That is false.  We went over this, the Saturn I and V were, once the CR steps were taken into account, very affordable.  A Saturn V launch in todays dollars, once the cost reduction process is accounted for, would come in at ~$330 million.  Saturn IB would run ~$70 million and put 21 tonnes into LEO, although it was being phased out for Saturn II, which would have run a bit over $100 mil and lofted 48 tonnes.
Given the costs of other US LVs, those numbers do not appear to be credible. Paper cost reductions are extremely effective, on paper.

You really think a Saturn IB would cost less than than a Delta II ? That a Saturn V would be comparable to Delta IV heavy ?
Those are the real world costs, based on the actual procurement orders.  Each of the stages had their costs drop throughout the program, and cost-reduced versions of the engines were ready by the time the program ended.  The F-1, for example, had it's price drop from (using 2005 dollars here) $55 million to $21 million for the F-1A, with several samples already purchased which demonstrated the amount of cost reduction for these engines.  The J-2 had the most dramatic price decrease over it's production run, (still using 2005 dollars here) reducing it from $26.25 million per unit to $7.68 million per unit with the J-2S, which like the F-1A had several units already purchased for development. We have the procurement orders on file, even the cancelled ones for units planned for but cancelled with the program, so we can verify these costs.

This does not reflect the launch overhead, just the individual rocket costs themselves.  If you do the same with the Delta II and DeltaIV, those would be cheaper than the Saturns as well. That demonstrates that, yes, they can be made affordable.  History, however, demonstrates that just as we got the rockets into the affordable range, the rug was pulled out from under them.  As a result, they had their cost to launch artificially increased due to the huge R&D with limited flight history for payback. 

*edit* realized I'd forgotten to adjust the J-2/J-2S prices to 2005 prices.  Fixed.
« Last Edit: 05/28/2011 08:33 PM by Downix »
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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #66 on: 05/28/2011 03:11 PM »
I'm gonna choose not to believe this until I've removed all razors from the house and disposed of my sleeping pills.

That is false.  We went over this, the Saturn I and V were, once the CR steps were taken into account, very affordable.  A Saturn V launch in todays dollars, once the cost reduction process is accounted for, would come in at ~$330 million.  Saturn IB would run ~$70 million and put 21 tonnes into LEO, although it was being phased out for Saturn II, which would have run a bit over $100 mil and lofted 48 tonnes.
Those are the real world costs, based on the actual procurement orders.  Each of the stages had their costs drop throughout the program, and cost-reduced versions of the engines were ready by the time the program ended.  The F-1, for example, had it's price drop from (using 2005 dollars here) $55 million to $21 million for the F-1A, with several samples already purchased which demonstrated the amount of cost reduction for these engines.  The J-2 had the most dramatic price decrease over it's production run, (still using 2005 dollars here) reducing it from $4.3 million per unit to $1.6 million per unit with the J-2S, which like the F-1A had several units already purchased for development. We have the procurement orders on file, even the cancelled ones for units planned for but cancelled with the program, so we can verify these costs.

This does not reflect the launch overhead, just the individual rocket costs themselves.  If you do the same with the Delta II and DeltaIV, those would be cheaper than the Saturns as well. That demonstrates that, yes, they can be made affordable.  History, however, demonstrates that just as we got the rockets into the affordable range, the rug was pulled out from under them.  As a result, they had their cost to launch artificially increased due to the huge R&D with limited flight history for payback. 

Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #67 on: 05/28/2011 08:35 PM »
I'm gonna choose not to believe this until I've removed all razors from the house and disposed of my sleeping pills.

That is false.  We went over this, the Saturn I and V were, once the CR steps were taken into account, very affordable.  A Saturn V launch in todays dollars, once the cost reduction process is accounted for, would come in at ~$330 million.  Saturn IB would run ~$70 million and put 21 tonnes into LEO, although it was being phased out for Saturn II, which would have run a bit over $100 mil and lofted 48 tonnes.
Those are the real world costs, based on the actual procurement orders.  Each of the stages had their costs drop throughout the program, and cost-reduced versions of the engines were ready by the time the program ended.  The F-1, for example, had it's price drop from (using 2005 dollars here) $55 million to $21 million for the F-1A, with several samples already purchased which demonstrated the amount of cost reduction for these engines.  The J-2 had the most dramatic price decrease over it's production run, (still using 2005 dollars here) reducing it from $4.3 million per unit to $1.6 million per unit with the J-2S, which like the F-1A had several units already purchased for development. We have the procurement orders on file, even the cancelled ones for units planned for but cancelled with the program, so we can verify these costs.

This does not reflect the launch overhead, just the individual rocket costs themselves.  If you do the same with the Delta II and DeltaIV, those would be cheaper than the Saturns as well. That demonstrates that, yes, they can be made affordable.  History, however, demonstrates that just as we got the rockets into the affordable range, the rug was pulled out from under them.  As a result, they had their cost to launch artificially increased due to the huge R&D with limited flight history for payback. 
Whoops, forgot to set the J-2's to 2005 prices.  Fixed that above, they were $26.25 mil  and $7.68 mil respectively.  The prices I had were 1967 procurement for J-2, and 1971 procurement for J-2S.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline madscientist197

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #68 on: 05/29/2011 05:54 AM »
That's still insanely cheap.
John

Offline Jorge

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #69 on: 05/29/2011 06:04 AM »
I'm gonna choose not to believe this until I've removed all razors from the house and disposed of my sleeping pills.

Hopefully you choose not to believe it longer.
JRF

Offline Michael Bloxham

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #70 on: 05/29/2011 04:44 PM »
Getting back on topic... Would a 5xFCCB "Faclon Heavy 5" first stage (cross-feed optional) with a high-thrust LH2/LOX upper stage (such as AIUS) begin to near the capability of Saturn V?

Offline savuporo

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #71 on: 05/29/2011 05:36 PM »
What's so special or magic about Saturn V's lifting power???

Benchmarking, as the largest successfully launched and utilized rocket to date.

In other words: rocket pr0n.


Isnt 90% of the threads here just that anyway ? I mean who cares about what goes on top of the rockets ..  :-\
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline Downix

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Re: Falcon Heavy 5 Vs. Saturn 5
« Reply #72 on: 05/29/2011 06:25 PM »
Getting back on topic... Would a 5xFCCB "Faclon Heavy 5" first stage (cross-feed optional) with a high-thrust LH2/LOX upper stage (such as AIUS) begin to near the capability of Saturn V?
Would not even need that much.  With the AIUS, the Falcon Heavy as/is can throw almost 80 tons, the same as the Saturn-V INT-21.  Which means, you put on a similar EDS type stage on top of this, you'd match the Saturn with one less staging event.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

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