The starship tankers that will refuel starships in orbit will only carry fuel. I’ve heard it described that at first they will simply be normal starships, but with more fuel leftover when they reach orbit because there is no cargo. That sounds nuts to me. It seems obvious that they would soon take the missing cargo weight and increase the fuel tank capacity by that amount.
(Speaking with methane and oxygen considered together as fuel.) The cargo capacity we’ve heard lately is 130 tons. Fuel at take off is stated as 1200 tons. So together thats 1330 tons of fuel. However I can’t find a figure on how much fuel will be left when it reaches LEO. I also would presume these figures include fuel in the header tanks that is needed for landing.
To know how much fuel a tanker would have available to transfer, we would first need to know how much would be left once in orbit. (starting with 1330 tons) and then subtract the landing fuel. Obviously I don’t have all the parts. So here’s my question.
How much fuel, (in tons) will a dedicated tanker be able to deliver to a starship in LEO?
A similar question was asked 2 years ago when the numbers were really different (50 tons of cargo and 1000 tons of fuel and oxygen) Also, it was asked in terms of how many tanker loads needed. Of course the number of tanker trips needed depends on the destination and the weight of cargo on the trip. So I am asking how many tons of fuel a tanker will have to contribute once in LEO. I don’t know if you folks think this question is different enough, but the answer I seek was not in the earlier question.