The last week has been pretty intense for SpaceX. On Tuesday (August 27th) at 5:00 PM local time (3:00 AM PST; 6:00 AM EST), the company conducted its second free flight test on the Starship bunker, which successfully climbed the test vehicle 150m (~ 500 feet) ) above the ground and then land in a different place. This test brings SpaceX one step closer to orbiting tests with their full-scale Starship prototypes.
But this is what came shortly after this successful test that is currently making people buzz. In Twitter while Musk was sharing drones from the test, he considered how big SpaceX's next super-heavy launch system would be. According to Musk, the next-generation system ( Starship 2.0 if you will) will be twice the size of a vehicle ready to send people and cargo to the moon and to Mars. [1
Asked if future versions were 12 m (~ 40 ft) in diameter, which was referenced in the original project of Starship – then known as the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) – or if the technology of the engine is to be refined, Musk
SpaceX is currently building two full-scale prototypes of the model at their facilities in Boca Chica, Texas and Cape Canaveral, Florida. They are referred to as Starship Mk. 1 and Mk. 2 expected to begin test flights to suborbital altitudes in the near future. When ready, these super heavy launch vehicles will be the largest and most powerful rockets ever created.
According to specifications shared by Musk during a presentation at SpaceX Headquarters in September 2018, the Starship element stands 55m (~ 180 feet) tall by itself and is capable of generating 11 500 kN (2 600 000
The Super Heavy booster element, meanwhile, will stand at least 70 m (230 ft) high and can generate up to 90,000 kN (19,600,000 lbf) of thrust. This will be provided by 30 marine-level optimized and 7 vacuum-optimized Raptor engines. Based on the latest hints from Musk, this means that Starship 2.0 can be twice as large, standing just under 240 meters in height and 18 meters (~ 60 feet) wide.
As shown by Eric Ralph of Teslarati, taking into account the area and volume that this diameter implies produces quite interesting results. Doubling both the height and width of the rocket, you get eight times the surface area and volume of the tank. This means that the rocket will weigh eight times more than Starship 1.0 and will have to generate eight times the thrust.
Probably this will mean that the next generation of SpaceX super heavy will be able to deliver payloads of up to 800,000 kg (~ 1.764 million pounds) to low Earth orbit (LEO), the moon and Mars – provided orbital loading is an option. This amounts to about 770 metric tons (850 tons in the US). And by limiting the development of more powerful engines, approximately 60 birds of prey will be needed to help launch this rocket! But we cannot deny that this is an exciting prospect. Moreover, Musk's allusion to a new generation spacecraft, doubling the diameter of the present Star Ship is in keeping with its ambitious nature. As with most things, I guess we'll just have to wait and see …
Extra reading: Teslarati Making Life Interplanetary (2017)