Nine Engine SpaceX Starship for 50% More Payload to Orbit

Elon Musk says that future Starships – or at least certain Starship variants – are being upgraded with 50% more Raptor engines and stretched propellant tanks. This will increase engines from 6 to 9. SpaceX will also increase fuel to about 300 tons. This will enable a larger Starship and Superheavy to launch 220 tons to orbit instead of 150 tons.

On December 17th, the Elon confirmed a tweet from three months ago.

The SpaceX Starship would be stretched about 5-6 meters with larger fuel tanks.

The full refueling of Starship in orbit would drop from 8-9 launches down to 7.

The first orbital test launch of a SpaceX Super Heavy Starship is likely delayed until March because of FAA regulatory delays.

SOURCES- Teslarati, Aeneas, Elon Musk, The_Denks
Written by Brian Wang,

13 thoughts on “Nine Engine SpaceX Starship for 50% More Payload to Orbit”

  1. People often say that politicians can't create a great economy. But they can spike one pretty well, and that's what this administration seems determined to do, to multiple industries.

  2. Indeed, the best and most common immediate use for such a monster would be fuel launchers.

    They will need as much fuel they can get up there, and that without even retiring the first generation Starship.

    If second generation Starship arrives, cargo and fuel will be the most immediate uses.

    Crewed Starships of that size would probably see the light only after the market justifies it, like for sending several hundreds of passengers to Mars at once, as crazy as that might sound today.

    But for the moon, everything most likely will start with the current generation.

  3. It does raise some questions, such as whether they keep putting the LOX tank for landing in the nose. I can't imagine SpaceX trying to re-connect cryo-liquid plumbing securely. Was that tank put there to help with balance during the 'free fall' segment of re-entry? Can it be eliminated in the future?

  4. Now…what if SuperHeavy were beefed up a bit, surrounded by Falcon cores with legs in between. It may not need a pad.

  5. Agreed. Nothing is wrong with expendability. Build some cycles that are roomy with SS/SH and have a Dragon capsule atop Falcon Heavy be a Soyuz/Progress for them.

    Falcon SuperHeavy with five cores as Elon’s R-7?

  6. Now, at one of the comments at BEHIND THE BLACK had a stretch Starship capable of 30 tons as an SSTO if it had 9 or so engines…not sure if I buy that.

  7. That was an offhand suggestion, of course. But a slice perpendicular to the axis of the rocket has the least perimeter, and best access for payload. You'd need a mating ring there, but it would be the least mating ring possible.

    Instead of completely separating, they might just want the two pieces connected via an extensible rail similar to a drawer ball slide, to maintain alignment. Wouldn't have to be terribly strong to operate in zero G.

  8. So the Atlas rocket which was smaller than the starship and had engines with 50% more thrust and were much heavier must have had a serious instability problems according to you.

  9. Hm, and that did not matter? So the date when the FAA starts to review the case does not matter…because…? No matter when you start something it always finishes at the same time?

  10. Using Starship to build out lunar LOX production, and eventually hydrogen from lunar ice would be a much better use of the money AND time. Starship's volume and mass is more than sufficient for lots of missions, and where it is not sufficient, it will be enough to deliver modules to assemble a bigger ship in space.

  11. At some point, we have to stop optimizing and Go.

    The time and money to be spent on Starship++ could be better spent developing and delivering the systems for lunar oxygen mining ASAP so we can refill with LOX on the lunar surface.

    That will dramatically reduce the number of tanker launches, thanks the to LOX on Starship outweighing methane 4:1 and the rocket equation slashing fuel and LOX requirements with refilling.

    Eventually we'll only be launching carbon (for methane factories in space using lunar hydrogen) and useful payloads. Maybe 1 'carbon tanker' launch per lunar surface mission?

  12. Well, that would certainly fit the "best part is none" – get rid of hinges and actuators and stiffeners and other things needed to make the clamshell work.

    Probably means adding something to the shroud to at minimum cancel any tumbling, assuming the 'bottom' of Starship does all the work of docking.

    And I'd wonder what they'd have to do to let Mechazilla catch and carry Starship, if the top is designed to come off. Very strong latches? Maybe rails that slide up into the shroud and mate with the 'zilla catch points?

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