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Those side payloads / side fairings, would be strapped on central core second stage, on top of side boosters.

The idea is to increase payload volume without (that much) changing drag during the lift off - max q ascent phase.

enter image description here (scroll down friendly rocket illustration orientation)

enter image description here (annotated for clarity)

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    $\begingroup$ Those boosters don't go to orbit. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 11 '19 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ indeed, as always. $\endgroup$ – qq jkztd Apr 11 '19 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ So you are talking about suborbital payloads? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 11 '19 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble "on top of" does not mean attached to. Those payloads are strapped on second stage. In the illustration there's a noticebale gap between side boosters and side payloads to make it clear. $\endgroup$ – qq jkztd Apr 11 '19 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ Might be possible, but the mass of the side chambers is going to put a sideways torque on the shell of the main stage after the side boosters are dropped. Given the design considerations of rockets, I suspect this would require some redesign to create. $\endgroup$ – Sherwood Botsford Apr 12 '19 at 15:48
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Would it be possible? Sure. You'd have to put a second stage on each of the boosters though to get the payload into orbit.

Would it be practical? No.

In terms of mission design, this would be equivalent to flying three separate Falcon 9s, with a few notable drawbacks.

  • The delta-V remains about the same (triple the propellant, triple the payload and you're left with the delta-V you originally had).
  • Every additional part that can fail adds to the risk of overall failure. You now have three times the number of parts. The second Falcon Heavy was given a 5-10% chance of failure by Elon Musk, if I remember correctly. There's so many parts to consider, so many possible ways to fail, not even considering the interactions between the individual boosters.
  • Development costs. There is no mixing and matching like in kerbal space program. Each major modification to a rocket results in an entirely new rocket that the company has to learn how to fly.
  • Your satellites better all be going to the same orbit.
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    $\begingroup$ THe poster specifies payload violume. There is an issue with the FH that the payload volume is relatively low compared to payload mass, especially for LEO missions. This could tackle that. $\endgroup$ – Steve Linton Apr 12 '19 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveLinton imho not really because of the “missing” second stage on the boosters. $\endgroup$ – jkavalik Apr 12 '19 at 8:33
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    $\begingroup$ @jkavalik The extra payload space is mounted on the side of the central second stage $\endgroup$ – Steve Linton Apr 12 '19 at 8:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Ingolifs you seem to be making the same mistake I did in my comment. The new payload volumes are not physically attached to the side boosters. We are supposed to know that because there is a tiny open space in the picture. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 12 '19 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ I wasted, like, two seconds writing that sentence, so all good. @OrganicMarble No I didn't see the detached part either. I think my answer stands, though. The final stage has three separate spaces for payloads, and so would only be practical if you were launching three objects at once. $\endgroup$ – Ingolifs Apr 12 '19 at 20:30
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The idea is to increase payload volume without (that much) changing drag during the lift off - max q ascent phase.

Plan B to get more payload volume is to make the "fairing much longer" (emphasis mine).

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/963095860060934144

Plan A is to get Super Heavy Starship (formerly known as BFR) flying, rendering Falcon Heavy unnecessary.

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