3
$\begingroup$

Eric Ralph in an article about Falcon Heavy static fire test, wrote this:

the most capable rocket currently operational – appeared to ignite all 27 of its first stage’s Merlin 1D engines, likely producing up to 2350 tons (5.18 million lbf) of thrust. Only three liquid-powered rockets and two rockets augmented by solid rocket boosters have produced more thrust at sea level, and the last of those five vehicles (NASA’s Space Shuttle) was permanently retired in 2011.

So what are the five?

Saturn V is obvious. Space Shuttle is mentioned. Titan-34/4 variants I suppose N-1

What is the fifth?

$\endgroup$
5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that number is right. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Oct 28, 2022 at 13:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GdD mere facts get in the way of Teslarati going squeeeeeee $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2022 at 13:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @geoffc "Falcon Heavy will continue on as the second most powerful commercial rocket for the indefinite future." I almost want to laugh at this statement. Just the plain audacity to say such a thing it's... disturbing. First of all, how do they know someone won't build anything more powerful and put heavy in 3rd? Second of all, what happens when heavy retires? Nothing lasts forever. Not even the seemingly immortal Delta family of rockets. Heavy is going to retire at one point or another, and technology will advance. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2022 at 16:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Indefinite future is until something else comes up. Since even Falcon took about 10 years to get going seriously, it seems like a reasonable statement. Also an amusing dig at New Glenn, since that is about the only real one, maybe, sort of, kind of coming in the near future. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Oct 28, 2022 at 19:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Indefinite future" is a lot of words for saying "for now." $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2022 at 23:20

1 Answer 1

4
$\begingroup$

The Soviet Energia rocket is the one you're missing. However the Delta rockets have less thrust than these four, so unless he's counting SLS, I don't know of another rocket that has flown that has more thrust than Falcon Heavy.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "the last of those five vehicles (NASA’s Space Shuttle) was permanently retired in 2011." Apparently the claim is that all of the 5 are now retired, so not SLS. Good point on Energia. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2022 at 15:04
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Energia (Smacks head) of course. And it is all liquid. So N-1, Energia, Saturn V are the all Liquid. Shuttle is one of the Solid + liquid. Must be Titan 34/4 then for the other Solid + Liquid. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Oct 28, 2022 at 16:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.