SpaceX… options

Space Exploration Technologies, SpaceX, has numerous rockets on offer. I thought I’d do a handy summary here.

Falcon 1/1e
Falcon 9
Falcon 9 heavy

Vehicle LEO Payload (kg) GTO Payload TLI Payload Cost $USD millions
Falcon 1 420 ** ** 7.9
Falcon 1e 1010 ** ** 9.1
Falcon 9 12500 4640 1925 36.75-57.75
Falcon 9 heavy 29610 15010 6230*** 94.5-104.5
Dragon >2500 * * *

* – figures for Dragon are currently not very detailed on the SpaceX page.
** – Falcon 1/1e need a ‘kick motor’ to launch a payload to the Moon. Only the 1e can realistically launch enough mass for a small lander.
*** – no TLI mass is quoted for the Falcon 9 heavy, but if the proportion remains the same as for the Falcon 9 between GTO and TLI, then this is the estimate.

The TLI mass for the Falcon 9 heavy might indicate a luna capability for Dragon with the right heat-shield. A two-launch Luna mission might allow a lander. The old Apollo LM massed just ~ 15 tons, thus combined with a TLI stage, this might allow landing on the Moon. Assuming ~ $210 million for the two launches, and ~ $1.5 billion for the LM (aerospace vehicle development costs ~ $100 million per ton the old way), and you’d have a lander mission for under $2 billion. Cheap!