- Mar 23, 2008
- Reaction score
In 2020 Robert Zubrin made a proposal to use a Dragon capsule and the upper stage of an empty FalconHeavy, dock them in Earth orbit and send them to the Moon. TheSpaceReview
An unloaded FalconHeavy upper stage has ~3 ton of fuel remaining,. Enough the send the stack to the Moon, capture into Lunar orbit and finally perform the Trans Earth Injection, with the Dragon docked to it. Some improvements will be needed - adding a docking port the FalconHeavy, coping with Oxygen boil-off during the flight, strengthen the Dragon's heat shield - but it seems possible and might provide an easy space taxi to the Moon.
Will it work?
Before trying this scenario, these addons shall be installed:
Falcon9 and FalconHeavy by BrianJ, Dragon DM-2 by Donamy, Felix24 and BrianJ.
Note: The cfg-file of the FalconHeavy f9h_star48 will be overwritten by adding a docking port to it. No other changes.
When starting the scenario, the Falcon9 is the focus vessel, while the FalconHeavy is in the background.
Press 'V' to startup the Falcon9. Note: The countdown already displayed is for the FalconHeavy.
The FalconHeavy will launch a minute later, but will overtake the Falcon9 as it has much more power and carries no payload.
When in orbit, align the orbital planes and synchronize with the FalconHeavy upper stage for docking.
Then jettison the Dragon with 'J', switch to it and dock to the FalconHeavy within 3-4 orbits.
After docking, switch to the FalconHeavy. Perform the Lunar Orbit Insertion when reaching the dashed node line at the top of the orbit MFD.
Burn until the apoapsis is a little farther out than the Moon's orbit.
When approaching the Moon, perform a Lunar capture maneuver. Keep the Dragon attached. After enjoying the view for some orbits around the Moon, burn for the Trans Earth Injection. Switch to the Dragon, separate from the spent FalconHeavy upper stage and fine-tune the return trajectory with the Dragon's thrusters.
Thanks to BrianJ, Donamy and Felix24 for providing such great addons!
Have fun flying!