Improved SpaceX Starship Should Lift 300 Tons Expendable and 180 Tons Reusable #spacex
Elon says SpaceX Starship with improved Raptor 3 engines should lift 300 tons in expendable mode which should mean mean 180 tons in reusable mode.
The International Space Station weighs about 420 tons and took about fifty space shuttle launches to build. The Starship upper stage has more volume than the International Space Station. A larger, stretched Starship upper stage could be built and launched to enable larger space stations by just leaving Starships in orbit.
An older SpaceX design was the Interplanetary Transport System. This older design was larger than the Starship Superheavy. ITS would outperform the Saturn V by a factor of 4.1 on the mass delivered to Low Earth Orbit. In a fully expendable configuration, ITS would loft a LEO payload of 550 metric tons while the reusable booster can send 300 metric tons into orbit. The improving Raptor engines are getting to 60% of the proposed ITS capability.
If SpaceX achieved a further 20% improvement in the Raptor engines could enable about 360 tons in expendable mode and 216 tons in reusable mode.
Starship payload is 250 to 300 tons to orbit in expendable mode.
Improved thrust & Isp from Raptor will enable ~6000 ton liftoff mass.
Two years ago Elon estimated a Starship would lift 250 tons to orbit in expandable mode and 150 tons in reusable mode. If Starship can be optimized with improved Raptor 3 engines for 300 tons in expendable mode then this should mean 180 tons in reusable mode.
Well-optimized Starship would do ~250 tons to orbit as expendable & ~150 tons fully reusable
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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Source: Next Big Future