Author Topic: Is it possible to widen the Falcon 9 while keeping it road transportable?  (Read 16794 times)

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4706
  • Liked: 2616
  • Likes Given: 1407
Considering the fact SpaceX intends to rapidly reuse rockets over dozens of flights and this will obviously reduce how many boosters they manufacture..

Would it not make more sense to ditch road transportability in favor of a wider booster that can always return to the launch site? Right now they are using a slow boat to capture these boosters in a very convoluted scheme, but they could just as easily use a boat to ship 5m+ reusable cores to the launch site. Actually it would be even easier than what they are doing now and would enable rapid return and reuse at the launch site, where it matters most. Alternatively, like Blue Origin are doing, they could manufacture and integrate wider boosters close to the launch site, either fully or partially with components transported from California, such as engines.


After all, the purpose of SpaceX is to transport rockets to space, not to transport them across U.S roads!

Can't barge to McGregor, so they would need a new test stand near a port.

I think you just described a 10-15m BFR. SpaceX is on too tight a timeline to Mars to waste time on a ~5m booster that would basically duplicate Falcon Heavy's capabilities.

Offline Wolfram66

one could also send the stages by RAIL, thus avoiding the use of roads.

More constraining than roads

how about a SpaceX Blimp transporter; Solar/Tesla battery powered

Online Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28552
  • Minnesota
  • Liked: 8478
  • Likes Given: 5530
one could also send the stages by RAIL, thus avoiding the use of roads.

More constraining than roads

how about a SpaceX Blimp transporter; Solar/Tesla battery powered

I don't know how many times this has been suggested, but no.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online launchwatcher

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 373
  • Liked: 257
  • Likes Given: 357
one could also send the stages by RAIL, thus avoiding the use of roads.

More constraining than roads
For existing freight railways within North America, max width appears to be ~3.25m for a freight car of typical length (significantly shorter than a Falcon 9 first stage); longer cars need to be narrower.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loading_gauge#Freight

Offline JamesH65

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 901
  • Liked: 588
  • Likes Given: 8
one could also send the stages by RAIL, thus avoiding the use of roads.

More constraining than roads

how about a SpaceX Blimp transporter; Solar/Tesla battery powered

I don't know how many times this has been suggested, but no.

Channeling Jim?

Is the lift capacity too small?


Offline Zach Swena

  • Member
  • Posts: 66
  • Liked: 18
  • Likes Given: 0
one could also send the stages by RAIL, thus avoiding the use of roads.

More constraining than roads

how about a SpaceX Blimp transporter; Solar/Tesla battery powered

I don't know how many times this has been suggested, but no.

Channeling Jim?

Is the lift capacity too small?

I think the main issue is the transport weather constraints.  Those things can't take much wind, so their ability to move cores would depend greatly on weather and wind direction.  The other thing is that most of that volume is needed to lift the craft, actual payload volume and weight is actually quite small.  Fixed wing transport would work much better.

Offline Semmel

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1478
  • Germany
  • Liked: 1278
  • Likes Given: 3460
Before this goes any further, I suggest you look into the reason 'Cargo Lifter' failed. Hint: If you drop off a large load from a Zeppelin, it goes off vertically like a dog that found a squirrel.

Offline JamesH65

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 901
  • Liked: 588
  • Likes Given: 8
Before this goes any further, I suggest you look into the reason 'Cargo Lifter' failed. Hint: If you drop off a large load from a Zeppelin, it goes off vertically like a dog that found a squirrel.

Before this goes any further, read up on hybrid airships. 21T capacity on the Lockheed design.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/11687764/How-hybrid-airships-could-bring-back-a-centuries-old-idea-to-the-skies.html

Airlander 50 has a 50T capacity. I wonder if they have though about what happens when the load is dropped off...I suspect they have.

https://www.hybridairvehicles.com/aircraft/airlander-50

These are not Zeppelins.





Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4706
  • Liked: 2616
  • Likes Given: 1407
Before this goes any further, I suggest you look into the reason 'Cargo Lifter' failed. Hint: If you drop off a large load from a Zeppelin, it goes off vertically like a dog that found a squirrel.

Before this goes any further, read up on hybrid airships. 21T capacity on the Lockheed design.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/11687764/How-hybrid-airships-could-bring-back-a-centuries-old-idea-to-the-skies.html

Airlander 50 has a 50T capacity. I wonder if they have though about what happens when the load is dropped off...I suspect they have.

https://www.hybridairvehicles.com/aircraft/airlander-50

These are not Zeppelins.

That seems very complicated, and totally unnecessary for a 5 to 6 meter upper stage which can easily be transported by existing road, ship, or air vehicles. A 5 - 6 meter booster is very unlikely to happen, and BFR will be built, tested, and launched from the same area obviating the need for anything but short distance hauls on a kamag.

Offline Bob Shaw

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1083
  • Liked: 445
  • Likes Given: 388
one could also send the stages by RAIL, thus avoiding the use of roads.

More constraining than roads

how about a SpaceX Blimp transporter; Solar/Tesla battery powered


That big chap needs to be green. And have landing rockets.

Offline douglas100

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2177
  • Liked: 226
  • Likes Given: 104
Before this goes any further, I suggest you look into the reason 'Cargo Lifter' failed. Hint: If you drop off a large load from a Zeppelin, it goes off vertically like a dog that found a squirrel.

Cargolifter had a system which substituted ballast for the payload before it was offloaded. They understood perfectly well how lighter than air vehicles work. Their failure was economic.

The boring solution to the transportation problem is ULA's or Bezos's: build your vehicle at the launch site or near water and use a barge.
Douglas Clark

Tags: