The FrankenFalcon rocket + Navy railguns as lunar mass drivers

John Hare considers the capability of a monster (in more ways than one) rocket that combines a stretched SpaceX Falcon 9 with  Shuttle solid rocket boosters to put about 140 tons into orbit: SFalconLS – Selenian Boondocks.

Chuck Lesher notes that  Navy railgun development has reached a level of capability already sufficient to hurl small amounts of material from the Moon at escape velocities: Is the US Navy Preparing to Conquer Space? – Moonandback

Even at this early stage, the railgun is already capable of launching a 23 pound payload off the surface of the moon. We have our mass driver but getting it operational on the moon along with all the support needed to supply it with payloads… well, solving that problem must wait for another blog entry.

One thought on “The FrankenFalcon rocket + Navy railguns as lunar mass drivers”

  1. Railguns to launch small payloads from the Moon are indeed possible with the Navy’s railguns. They could even be used to reach Earth orbit from the Moon. This means they could be used to supply propellant depots in either Moon orbit or Earth orbit.
    And since you can get higher speeds by reducing the mass accelerated, you can even use the current system on Earth to launch to LEO a smaller mass.
    The problem that needs to be solved now is that at such high speeds the railings wear out after a few shots and have to replaced. But I believe that will also be solved in the short term to get a fully operational system.

    See calculations here:

    Re: Maglev Catapult Launch Systems Posted on: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:07 pm

    Bob Clark

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