Saturday, June 1, 2013

Lunar Grasshopper

Some musings.

My wild speculations from now on will include a 30mt lunar SSTO capable of a round trip from lunar surface to orbit carrying a full 10mt payload each way. To get a lunar base started we just need a fuel depot in lunar orbit.

Does Golden Spike know about this?

With heartfelt thanks to Trent for doing the heavy lifting.

More musings... So a FH puts this thing in orbit with 20mt of fuel. More than enough to get to a LEO fuel depot. 360mt of refueling later it could take itself to a lunar orbiting fuel depot. From there it takes 10mt of building materials to the lunar surface to start a base before returning to lunar orbit. All we need to do then is keep the lunar depot full of fuel and supplies for the lunar base.

Update: I see the Merlin 1D is only able to throttle down to 70% which would probably be too much g force on less than a half tank of fuel. Does anybody have a suggestion for an alternate? Considering we have plenty of margin, the vehicle could have the Merlin as it's main engine and supplemental engines for when the fuel tanks are less filled. Super dracos might be a middle ground, but you really need something that burns the same fuel as the Merlin.

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