- Sep 21, 2018
- SLU Posts
This vehicle will be the second stage on top of a somewhat larger booster. The second stage will weigh 1300 tons fully loaded. The cylinder is partly to distribute that weight evenly to the first stage. During launch the booster will accelerate at several g's. So multiply the weight times acceleration for the load at that point and you are looking at 4-5,000 tons load.What is the point of the shroud around the engines?
The other purpose is to mount the landing legs. This particular prototype had stubby landing legs folded inside the cylinder. The final leg design hasn't been built yet, but it will still have to handle a couple hundred tons after the rocket has used up most of its propellant (methane and oxygen).
[EDIT] Third reason: This vehicle is intended to come back from orbit or beyond. While the engines are fairly heat-resistant, they are not as good as ceramic heat shield tiles. A lot of the other equipment around the engines (valves, control computers, etc.) are not heat resistant at all. The cylinder will be covered with a heat shield on one side, along with the rest of the vehicle to protect all that stuff.