Falcon Heavy or New Glenn for New Moon Plans

John Shilling surveyed the payload capabilities of the SpaceX Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Vulcan and the New Glenn rocket at Space Access 2019. The Falcon Heavy has the capabilities for Moon missions but a New Glenn with a third stage would be able to deliver more payload.

There have been no test launches of the New Glenn the Vulcan.

The Falcon Heavy would need to operate in direct launch instead of reusable mode for initial moon missions to deliver good payload for initial bases.

John described how we could make a reusable lunar lander, orbital tugs and cis-lunar tugs.

John’s analysis concludes the best plan is to set up a base on the moon and produce and distribute fuel and water from the moon.

Analysis shows that low lunar orbit is not useful.

Lunar fuel, lunar base, cis-lunar base and low earth orbit can enable us to have five times the capability to move and deliver in space.

The Lunar gateway would need to have fuel storage capability and should probably be located at L2.

SOURCE – Live coverage of John Shillings presentation of Earth Orbit and Deep Space Payload Capabilities of Current and Near Term Launchers.
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

14 thoughts on “Falcon Heavy or New Glenn for New Moon Plans”

  1. Unless SpaceX is planning a third stage option, talking about a 3rd stage to 3rd stage comparison between the two is a bit pointless.

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  2. A refueling depot in LLO would be very useful. My own calculations show that 8 small depots in strategic places from LEO to LUNA lower the launch mass for 1ton payloads by 15 and the total mission cost/mission by 95%. (Falcon 9 cost and 50m/ ferry cost). Payload: 1 metric ton to Luna via 8 intermediate nodes. The cost for the 8 depots is 200M if space grade plastic injection molding is used for the SRS Standard Refueling Sat (which is a viable option) and if they are filled only partially at first launch. One Ariane 5 or F9 suffices for the lot. The ferries themselves (copies of the SRS or the SRS’s themselves), fly from node to node and tank only the fuel required to go to the next nodes. Because one stays within the lower end of the logarithmic scale of the rocket equation, the propellant reduction along the whole trajectory is immense. the Ferries combine hall thrusters with MMO/NTO or onboard electrolosys of H2O getting the best of both chem and ion prop. Best of all: they can land if required. The latter is high TRL space tech you can already buy off the shelf. If I could raise the money I would do it immediately. The upside is in the black at first launch. Anyone happens to have 500K or 2M lying around so I can do the paper studies, give the project legs, and build the demo?

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  3. When will we finally see an optimized for orbit space tug delivering mass to high, and lunar orbit, instead of piling on stages, and carrying along mass only necessary for high gee, and aerodynamic loads? Consider how much lower mass the engine of the tug can be, when all you need to worry about is maximizing ISP, instead of thrust.
    Between lower structural mass, lower engine mass, and perhaps just ion engines for loads in no hurry an orbital tug has huge advantages over launch vehicles for lunar deliveries.

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  4. “The Falcon Heavy has the capabilities for Moon missions but a New Glenn with a third stage would be able to deliver more payload.”

    New Glenn is a PPT rocket so it can have a fourth stage for all I care.

    Also if you want to play the third stage game, F9 would do well with a third stage. So Apples to Apples.

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  5. I’m happy to wait a few years for Starship to be operational, moon base will be expensive and Starship allows us to get the most bang for our buck. Plus if there are alien ruins up there, I think we should put that revelation on hold for a while, humanity has enough to deal with at the moment.

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  6. “Falcon Heavy or New Glenn for New Moon Plans”

    One of these is a rocket that has successfully flown twice. One of these is a PPT rocket.

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