I see multiple mentions of point-to-point transport use of the Super Heavy and Starship combination, but cannot find ANY estimate of how much cargo, how many people, or some combination thereof, is actually possible.
Putting 100 to 150 tons into orbit is great, but landing it is a further complication and one has to wonder if it is possible, or makes sense? Disregard the economics, ticket prices, etc. Assume that all destinations have mechazilla launch/capture towers and other needed facilities.
My question is, of that 100 to 150 tons to orbit, how big a payload can be LANDED? The Starship is designed to be reusable, so it has fuel enough to land after the payload is ejected. The re-entry will burn off most of the velocity, but it seems safe to assume that the terminal velocity will be high subsonic or low supersonic. Any extra propellant needed to do final landing burn w/ an extra 100 tons of mass would reduce both the in orbit mass the final, delivered cargo mass.
If that landed cargo mass is 1 ton, or 10 tons, it seems impractical for all but the very most valuable cargo. If the landed cargo mass is as much as 25 tons, or 50, or even 75, then it starts to seem practical for this purpose.

  • $\begingroup$ If you're looking for a fact-based answer, this answer may help. $\endgroup$
    – phil1008
    Commented Feb 20 at 3:02
  • $\begingroup$ Wild speculation, but if Starship were fitted with landing legs, it could land on any heliport-sized pad that can support its 100t weight (plus payload). After refueling, it could perform a deadhead return. I can imagine the military would be happy to pay to get a hefty load anywhere on the planet in a hour. $\endgroup$
    – Woody
    Commented Feb 20 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Woody *anywhere with ~1,000 tons of LOX/methane, of course. Probably less than that, but I’m not sure if actually landing the upper stage somewhere and expecting it to return is practical $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ @fyrepenguin ... Its easier to make LOX/methane on Earth than on Mars. So I think it will be easier to bring a Starship home to Texas from Tel Aviv than Jezero Crater. I don't like to question Elon's idealism, but I think he has his eye on a certain domestic customer with deep pockets. $\endgroup$
    – Woody
    Commented Feb 20 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Woody I don't disagree on that fact, just think that the idea that refueling a Starship anywhere where you'd need a Starship for rapid-response logistics is going to be a long shot. I wouldn't mind taking it to chat, but I don't want to get into this further here $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


This Space Review article gives a landed payload of 30 tonnes, seemingly from an interview with Gary Henry of SpaceX. US Space Force staff are also quoted in the article but do not appear to have provided any specific numbers.

Article features a 'Skepticism' section that quotes interviews with others on a number of complications with point to point cargo but does not appear to dispute the 30 tonne number or the physical possibility of Starship in the role.


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