Big Falcon Rocket will need several (maybe 6) tanker missions to get enough fuel for a Mars mission.

Does this mean at some point we may witness one BFR Heavy, made of three BFR first stages strapped together, pushing one massive tanker?

  • $\begingroup$ Bear in mind that the larger a rocket is, the more it punishes the launch pad and everything around it during launch. The infrastructure needed to launch BFR is already going to be mighty impressive and will be one of the big technical hurdles SpaceX has to resolve. $\endgroup$ – kim holder Feb 9 '18 at 19:38

SpaceX has not confirmed or denied that they are going to make a "BFR heavy" but there are multiple conceivable reasons why there would not be a "BFR heavy"

  • BFR is aiming for full, rapid turnaround and SpaceX has said that they want to do this very quickly and hopefully fly the same BFR multiple times per day. Adding additional stages would slow down the relaunch speed significantly as it would require additional assembly steps.

  • SpaceX would need to completely redesign the core BFR and Elon mentioned that doing this for the Falcon 9 was essentially like making a whole new rocket from scratch. Making a new BFR core rocket would be huge investment.

  • Strapping multiples together doesn't make it a better or more efficient rocket; it increases the max payload weight. The reason falcon heavy exists is because it allows bigger singular payloads. There's very little that we would need to launch in one massive piece which we can't just assemble in orbit. Launching 3 times would be cheaper, just as quick, and more efficient.

  • As Kim Holder mentioned, a BFR heavy would require an entirely new launchpad and vehicle launch facility.

  • $\begingroup$ -1. Can you please add some citations for this answer? "You think" is not a good source. $\endgroup$ – ReactingToAngularVues Feb 9 '18 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ @ReactingToAngularVues SpaceX is not a public company and does not post their plans on the internet. Even in Musk's latest interview (where he talked about the difficulties when structing the core stage) he himself was extremely reluctant and vague on future timelines and mentioned he hopes the "BFS will conduct hop tests Q4 2019" (Elon time). Most of my factual claims are supported in that interview but the nature of this question encourages speculation and asks for an opinion as there is no "right answer" $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Feb 9 '18 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ that is not an excuse to replace source with opinion. Also, you should include the relevant bits that back up your statements rather than just referring to a link. $\endgroup$ – ReactingToAngularVues Feb 9 '18 at 23:26
  • $\begingroup$ @ReactingToAngularVues Edited answer to remove opinion $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Feb 9 '18 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ In fairness, this is exactly why questions that can only be answered by opinion are closed. $\endgroup$ – kim holder Feb 9 '18 at 23:36

I think it's unlikely.

Getting falcon heavy to work was far more work than they expected and the BFR second stages are supposed to be reusable (unlike the falcon 9 second stages which are expendable).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ -1. "I think" is not a source. $\endgroup$ – ReactingToAngularVues Feb 9 '18 at 22:30

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