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35 minutes ago, tater said:

True, it's not impossible to work out over short distances, away from already built up areas. No such route exists literally from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the US, however, which is what it takes to get from LA to KSC (or halfway, just to coastal TX).

Even the cargo rail lines which run from Long Beach Harbor East, and carry vast numbers of double-stacked cargo containers from China inland cannot be used, because there are countless road overpasses (which might take 4-5m rockets, I suppose), and the areas with multiple tracks (usually just 2, one eastbound, one westbound) are too close together for large diameter cargoes. Length also becomes an issue using existing rail lines, or existing roads which are not interstate highways, as the radius of curvature won't allow for long rocket stages.

I assume it is a self-maintaining loop.  For anything that big, it has always made more sense to use the Panama Canal.  So nobody bothers to make any road high/wide/tall enough to carry anything that can't fit on a railway.  I'm reasonably sure that there is a sufficiently large route from a seaport to Spacex's factory, to KSC, and coastal Texas.  I also suspect the logistics are a lot easier than a 5000km journey with oversized loads (and dealing with human drivers passing you).

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1 hour ago, tater said:

True, it's not impossible to work out over short distances, away from already built up areas. No such route exists literally from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the US, however, which is what it takes to get from LA to KSC (or halfway, just to coastal TX).

Even the cargo rail lines which run from Long Beach Harbor East, and carry vast numbers of double-stacked cargo containers from China inland cannot be used, because there are countless road overpasses (which might take 4-5m rockets, I suppose), and the areas with multiple tracks (usually just 2, one eastbound, one westbound) are too close together for large diameter cargoes. Length also becomes an issue using existing rail lines, or existing roads which are not interstate highways, as the radius of curvature won't allow for long rocket stages.

The route I described is 200 km long and goes through populated areas, including some town centers, where they installed removable lamp posts and road signs and reworked some of the roundabouts so that the convoys can go straight through. It mostly uses secondary roads in order to avoid overpasses (railway crossings are fine) and so that it doesn't shut down highway traffic. In other areas it uses specially-built gravel paths that were cheap to build (and double as cycling paths 99% of the time). You only need the one lane, the width of a truck's wheelbase and to trim the vegetation around it. The trucks travel at around 30 km/h.

Most of mainland US is much less populated than the South West of France, and distances between obstacles are much larger, so the cost would probably be much cheaper per mile than the Airbus route.

Actually, it might be easier to build such a route across Mexico: Coatzacoalcos - Salina Cruz is "only" 350 km, mostly low population, and the terrain doesn't look too bad. Such a route would be useful for a lot of oversized cargo where the only option is to take the Panama Canal. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Mexican transport authorities already have such a route set up for this exact purpose.

Edited by Nibb31
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1 minute ago, Nibb31 said:

The route I described is 200 km long and goes through populated areas, including some town centers, where they installed removable lamp posts and road signs and reworked some of the roundabouts so that the convoys can go straight through. It mostly uses secondary roads in order to avoid overpasses and so that it doesn't shut down highway traffic. In other areas it uses specially-built gravel paths that were cheap to build (and double as cyclingActuall paths 99% of the time).

Most of mainland US is much less populated than the South West of France, and distances between obstacles are much larger, so the cost would probably be much cheaper per mile than the Airbus route.

Actually, it might be easier to build such a route across Mexico: Coatzacoalcos - Salina Cruz is "only" 350 km, mostly low population, and the terrain doesn't look too bad. Such a route would be useful for a lot of oversized cargo where the only option is to take the Panama Canal.

The issue would be getting out of LA.

Driving a Prius out of LA is a nightmare. The only reason they can ship cores from Hawthorne is that they don't have to alter signals, etc. That restriction means they can drive the trucks anywhere in the US without worry. If F9 was 5m, it could not be transported on roads across the country. Really. It might still be able to go via rail, but it depends on the tracks. I have taken the train from Albuquerque to LA before, and it goes the same route as every single E-W cargo train from Long Beach (they all tank up on diesel just south of ABQ in Belen, and my son used to be obsessed with trains, so we'd hang out at the rail yard, lol). When the Amtrak we were on passed cargo container shipments (almost constantly, lol), the trains were VERY close to each other as we passed. 2m? 3? Max load on a train is supposed to be 11 feet (3.35m). Longest BNSF rolling stock is 89' long, their shipping guidelines for oversize seem to only address weight, not any sized wider than the standard.

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55 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

Oversize transport is a thing. There are several special routes all over Europe and the USA, which have specially-made removable road equipment, oversize rest areas, road closure barriers, deviation plans, etc...

One such route near where I live is used for transporting A380 sections between Bordeaux (where they arrive by boat) to Toulouse (where the aircraft are assembled). These convoys usually travel at night, once or twice a month, following a public calendar to notify other road users that sections of the road will be closed. Most of the route uses existing roads that have been converted for oversize convoys. In some areas where it was not practical to convert an existing road, they built gravel roadways for the sole purpose of the Airbus convoys.

201510081872-full.jpg

heavy-transport-of-airbus-a380-header-03

This and its from barge to factory, not thousands of km. 
You can transport houses, this has been done multiple times even for large houses but in the later because they have historical value
Decent quality houses is often economical to move rather than build an new house. Then Norway got an new airport they had to move 30 something houses.
This was cheaper as they could do it as an bulk operation, closing one direction on highway taking down power lines and so on was an fixed cost. 
Was not able to google an image of it, move was 30 km or something. 

In shot you can move oversize stuff but sea is always cheaper. Air by special build craft is also an option and cheaper if you do this multiple times and has runways. 

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3 minutes ago, tater said:

The issue would be getting out of LA.

Driving a Prius out of LA is a nightmare. The only reason they can ship cores from Hawthorne is that they don't have to alter signals, etc. That restriction means they can drive the trucks anywhere in the US without worry. If F9 was 5m, it could not be transported on roads across the country. Really. It might still be able to go via rail, but it depends on the tracks. I have taken the train from Albuquerque to LA before, and it goes the same route as every single E-W cargo train from Long Beach (they all tank up on diesel just south of ABQ in Belen, and my son used to be obsessed with trains, so we'd hang out at the rail yard, lol). When the Amtrak we were on passed cargo container shipments (almost constantly, lol), the trains were VERY close to each other as we passed. 2m? 3? Max load on a train is supposed to be 11 feet (3.35m). Longest BNSF rolling stock is 89' long, their shipping guidelines for oversize seem to only address weight, not any sized wider than the standard.

Train is a no go. You have to put it on a truck or ship it from Port of LA to Salina Cruz and put it on a truck there. Or use the Panama Canal.

Airbus is building a new Beluga XL fleet that can carry sections that are over 8 m wide and 40 m long. Maybe SpaceX can strike a deal with them.

Edited by Nibb31
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Just now, Nibb31 said:

Train is a no go. You have to put it on a truck or ship it from Port of LA to Salina Cruz and put it on a truck there. Or use the Panama Canal.

I think we're agreeing, lol. I'm talking about even F9, BFR has always been sea or nothing in terms of transport.

The idea of Mexico is interesting, but once it's on the ship, it seems like the cost of just taking it to TX would be small, anyway.

 

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29 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

Actually, it might be easier to build such a route across Mexico: Coatzacoalcos - Salina Cruz is "only" 350 km, mostly low population, and the terrain doesn't look too bad. Such a route would be useful for a lot of oversized cargo where the only option is to take the Panama Canal. 

 

25 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

I mean, that's kind of why Teddy built it.

Never mind Teddy, but I think William Gladstone has Nibb31's idea beat by about 100 years...  The canal still is a better plan.

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22 minutes ago, Nibb31 said:

Train is a no go. You have to put it on a truck or ship it from Port of LA to Salina Cruz and put it on a truck there. Or use the Panama Canal.

Airbus is building a new Beluga XL fleet that can carry sections that are over 8 m wide and 40 m long. Maybe SpaceX can strike a deal with them.

Yeah, I was just starting to wonder about that.  Seems like you could take an old 747 and strap a F9 core to it.  An empty F9 at 26 tons is certainly within the capacity of a 747.  And transporting spacecraft by 747 isn't exactly a new idea :) 

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1 minute ago, zolotiyeruki said:

Yeah, I was just starting to wonder about that.  Seems like you could take an old 747 and strap a F9 core to it.  An empty F9 at 26 tons is certainly within the capacity of a 747.  And transporting spacecraft by 747 isn't exactly a new idea :) 

Except for F9, they don't have to, since it was specifically designed to be road-transportable.

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1 hour ago, tater said:

Except for F9, they don't have to, since it was specifically designed to be road-transportable.

Where we're going we don't need roads!

 

If they can, a rendezvous and refuel at sea (separate boat to avoid landing complications) could allow the booster to return by its own power. ;)

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2 hours ago, Technical Ben said:

Where we're going we don't need roads!

 

If they can, a rendezvous and refuel at sea (separate boat to avoid landing complications) could allow the booster to return by its own power. ;)

there is a bit of a difference in the level of infastructure for LC-40 and a boat out in the middle of the ocean, this doesnt sound practical.

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12 hours ago, Technical Ben said:

Where we're going we don't need roads!

 

If they can, a rendezvous and refuel at sea (separate boat to avoid landing complications) could allow the booster to return by its own power. ;)

It is very difficult to see situation in which it would be more economical to fly rocket stage from ship to launch pad than drive ship few hundred kilometers to coast. Maybe there will be fully equipped floating launchpads in very far future, but I am certain that any rocket which is now in planning or prototyping phase will be launched from traditional pads on coast.

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1 hour ago, Hannu2 said:

It is very difficult to see situation in which it would be more economical to fly rocket stage from ship to launch pad than drive ship few hundred kilometers to coast. Maybe there will be fully equipped floating launchpads in very far future, but I am certain that any rocket which is now in planning or prototyping phase will be launched from traditional pads on coast.

Floating (or attached to seabed) launch platforms are going to be a thing when P2P BFR flights start happening. And according to Shotwell, they're definitely going to happen, within a decade or so.

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