The Super Heavy class will use its own 7 stages to support a human crewed launch into low Earth orbit (LEO). This concept would allow full use of the vehicle with no need for an expendable landing system. SpaceX, the private company that makes and markets reusable capsules and boosters for NASA,
has revealed a design concept for a heavy-lift launch vehicle. With this capability, SpaceX would open up many new avenues for future lunar and Mars exploration.
The first concept vehicle is a vertical launch vehicle. It would use its fully loaded Super Heavy stage for the boost phase of flight. Then the stage would separate and return to a horizontal position to control the landing. The idea is to use this vehicle in a series to launch more cargo into low Earth orbit (LEO) at more rapid rates than traditional expendable launch vehicles. This concept looks like it could be used to reduce the development time for a lunar landing and perhaps send supplies on the moon prior to other NASA missions.
For a vertical takeoff, the second concept vehicle would have its Super Heavy stage deployed first. This stage would then be separated from the vehicle’s other stages using its own Separate Stage Separator. This design is similar to the concept of separate stages seen on the solid-fueled rocket. After separation, the Super Heavy stage would remain in place to act as an escape vehicle to return to the launch area.
The third concept would be for a reuse of the Super Heavy Booster
Once the Booster had completed its flight test in the Vertical Launch Vehicle (V LV), the vehicle could be used again in an expendable mode. This would allow additional Super Heavy stages to be used to increase launch vehicle performance. It also allows for use of previously used Solid Booster units. If the booster was used in a way that placed the crew inside the capsule during its launch, this new method could allow full entry and re entry.
The fourth idea is to have the Super Heavy launch from an expendable launch vehicle. In this case, the booster and Super Heavy would be reused between launches. A Super Heavy could be launched first and then reused during its second operational mission. However, a single expendable launch could launch the fully loaded Super Heavy as well, increasing operational availability. A reusable Super Heavy would provide the opportunity for a mission to two or three times the planned number of launches, assuming reliability and affordability of each flight.
The last idea would be to launch Super Heavy with only an emergency vehicle
In this case, the VMA would be used as a stage and the SLS as the main stage. The VMA would use up all its fuel in one shot,
while the SLS would burn through its remaining supply of fuel during the second or even third launch attempt. This approach is most appropriate for launches, which do not require a full load of fuel to complete the mission.
There are a number of difficulties with this type of launch,
namely the amount of launch vehicle fuel needed, the risk of VMA rocket engine failure, and the difficulty of placing VMA capsules into a direct line of sight with the launch vehicle. The amount of time it would take to assemble and launch the fully loaded Super Heavy and SLS capsules using only an emergency launch vehicle is six minutes. Although six minutes is an incredibly long time to wait for the launch, it is still less than the ten minutes required for an expendable launch. In addition, a reusable launch vehicle offers the potential for more frequent reuse of these capsules, potentially reducing the build-up costs by several hundred dollars per launch.
If you are a fan of reuse programs and value safety
then these reused Super Heavy options may be right for you. Each launch of these capsules will place approximately three hundred and fifty pounds of payload into low Earth orbit. The full load will be placed into orbit around the Earth and hover just over the equator. At that point, the returning vehicle will detach itself and return to a landing site to be discarded. There will not be a live launch or a landing to collect the partially recovered Super Heavy; therefore, this will not be a permanent solution. However, if your ambition is to save money and make a good impression on your fellow passengers during your next commercial flight,
this system could provide you with the opportunity to launch fully loaded Super Heavy ahead of your competitors.