Re: Launch Window
> How much bigger would the launch window be if the first stage did not have to carry the landing gear or reserve fuel for for the landing ?
The initial stage of the trip carries all of the vehicle through a substantial proportion of atmosphere at velocities that have little to no aerodynamic penalty. It would make sense to put as much fuel into that portion of the burn. This was not the consideration given to things in the days of slave labour. The Germanic point of view was to just throw money at the whole concept equally as in the first place it was all stolen and in its haste to steal yet more the Third Reich didn't give a shit until around 1944.
The Kennedy government hadn't the third idea about what makes a rocket and went along with whatever they were told at whatever the cost.
Instead of making mild steel first stages they were using dangerous second hand Titan missiles. From there, the no idea of not using titanium/aluminimum alloys in the pre-cyclocross bicycle days, continued until the cost of a launch kept rocket use to a minimum which lead to woodpeckers setting up homes in the first reusables.
Any government agency setting itself up to run a money pig like NASA is giving a committee a license to print its own currency. The only claw back from that is the political overseers already ensconced in their own cash cows. Whilst paying lip-service to free enterprise, things were never going to change until the accidents put an end to it all.
The cost of fuel versus the cost of the landing gear is a no brainer. It does not matter how much fuel it takes to launch if the savings are the whole vehicle against a few tons of paraffin and lubricant. Compare the price of an artic at 5 to 12 MPG to that of an airliner at 6000 pounds per hour -call it 750 gallons or more of agricultural fuel -which is very cheap; for every hour of intercontinental traffic. Divide that among 200 to 300 people.
4 gallons per person/per hour plus spare for emergencies?
Now take the maths across to driving a family car to the edge of the atmosphere. If it had five people in it, how much would it cost to take them the 60 miles to the edge of space, if you put your foot down all the way?
> (Without the penalty weight, there would be more delta-v available to correct for a mistimed launch.)
I don't know anything about rocket performance but I don't think Delta Vee means what you imply. Obviously the less something weighs the quicker it can accelerate but the idea of getting a rocket to a certain stage is so that it is performing a correct balancing act for a certain part of the flight.
Maybe I have it wrong but when you reach a certain aspect you can ditch the party of the first part and get on with the act. It just happens that to put a thing in orbit you make sure the orbiting object is a certain weight and certain speed and certain distance from the heavier object. They usually mean that, "by the time you have got rid of the earlier stages."
The booster stages are not filled to overcapacity. They are just fireworks on a one way trip -and once thrown off, as long as they don't hit anyone, they are just lost to radar and recollection. All the controls, guidance and ditching gear is housed on the command part of the ship.
The first stage on a reusable is every bit as expensive as the rest of the bus as it has to have guidance systems and fail-safes as well as wheels and fuel.