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Skylon
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9 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

Is SN8 going to be the largest single stage rocket ever launched? Suspect it might be.

Good question. I suspect it is not but I am not sure. Saturn V was flown all-up from the beginning, rather than using dummy upper stages, but I'm not sure about Saturn I.

[does some quick research]

The first four Saturn I test flights used dummy upper stages and made it up to an apogee of 167 km. The S-I first stage had an empty mass of 45 tonnes and a gross mass of 433 tonnes, but was flown with a dummy payload massing in the neighborhood of 86 tonnes, for a total launch mass of 519 tonnes.

Technically, three Raptors at full thrust could lift up to 673 tonnes off the ground, but since they will probably want to have a higher TWR at launch, it will probably have a lower propellant load. At a TWR of 1.5 it would have a gross liftoff mass of 449 tonnes which would make it lighter than the S-I test launches.  At a TWR of around 1.25 it would have a gross liftoff mass of 538 tonnes which would make it heavier than the S-I test launches.

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