• 4 minutes Pompeo: Aramco Attacks Are An "Act Of War" By Iran
  • 7 minutes Who Really Benefits From The "Iran Attacked Saudi Arabia" Narrative?
  • 11 minutes Trump Will Win In 2020
  • 15 minutes Experts review Saudi damage photos. Say Said is need to do a lot of explaining.
  • 4 hours Let's shut down dissent like The Conversation in Australia
  • 1 min Ethanol is the SAVIOR of the Oil Industry, Convenience Store Industry, Automotive Supply Chain Industry and Much More!
  • 8 hours One of the fire satellite pictures showed what look like the fire hit outside the main oil complex. Like it hit storage or pipeline facility. Not big deal.
  • 5 hours Saudi State-of-Art Defense System looking the wrong way. MBS must fire Defense Minister. Oh, MBS is Defense Minister. Forget about it.
  • 3 hours Ethanol, the Perfect Home Remedy for A Saudi Oil Fever
  • 7 hours Trump Accidentally Discusses Technology Used In The Border Wall
  • 15 hours Donald Trump Proposes Harnessing Liberal Tears To Provide Clean Energy
  • 21 hours Drone attacks cause fire at two Saudi Aramco facilities, blaze now under control
  • 14 hours Saudis Buying Oil From Iraq
  • 14 hours Saudis Confirm a Cruise Missile from Iranian Origin
  • 5 hours Hong Kong protesters appeal to Trump for support.
  • 1 day China Faces Economic Collapse
  • 1 day Democrats and Gun Views
Alt Text

Saudi Arabia Pours Cold Water On Oil Rally

After its sudden spike following…

Alt Text

Bill Gates Says $11 Trillion Anti-Oil Push Isn’t Working

Climate activists screaming at investors…

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba is a writer and journalist based in Mexico City. She has extensive experience writing and editing environmental features, travel pieces, local news in the…

More Info

Premium Content

How Much Fuel Does It Take To Get To The Moon?

The new age space race is upon us as Elon Musk’s SpaceX gears up to send billionaires to the moon and NASA plans for upcoming missions this month at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. So naturally, inquiring minds want to know: just how much fuel does it take to get to the moon?

Next Sunday, August 13 a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will blast off from Kennedy Space Center aimed for NASA's International Space Station. The Dragon spacecraft is an unmanned capsule that will fly with 3 tonnes of supplies, small potatoes next to their ambitious goal of sending two space tourists to the moon in 2018, their first mission with humans on board the spacecraft.

The cost for a single load of fuel for the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, presumably a more austere model than the one that will be used for space tourism in the near future, is between $200,000 and $300,000. Makes you think twice about complaining about how much is costs to fill your Range Rover!

Now for a bit of history: for the 1967 Apollo mission to the moon, Saturn V rocket’s first stage carried 203,400 gallons of kerosene fuel and 318,000 gallons of liquid oxygen needed for, totaling over 500,000 gallons of fuel for getting out of the atmosphere alone. The second stage carried another 260,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and 80,000 gallons of liquid oxygen. The third stage carries 66,700 gallons of liquid hydrogen and 19,359 gallons of liquid oxygen. All told, the rocket that achieved one small step for a man and one giant leap for mankind held just under 950,000 gallons of fuel.

Since then, space-age technologies have come a long way. By comparison, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 uses just a mere fraction of the fuel combusted by Saturn V. To be fair, the Falcon 9 is smaller, simpler, and not designed to re-enter orbit safely (it has no stage three), but even so, you can see that the fuel efficiency of spacecrafts has improved leaps and bounds. Related: The Race For Floating Wind Farms Has Begun

SpaceX fuels their crafts not with liquid hydrogen, but with kerosene, which has a lot more energy per gallon. Thanks to this and other advances, Falcon 9’s first stage uses 39,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and almost 25,000 gallons of kerosene, while the second stage uses 7,300 gallons of liquid oxygen and 4,600 gallons of kerosene. Combined, it makes lean mean 75,900 gallons of fuel.

As we speak, SpaceX is finishing their plans for a heavy-lift launch vehicle known as Falcon Heavy, which is scheduled to fly for the first time this summer. Other big names in the private space industry are working on similar heavy-duty model that will be able to bring unprecedented amounts of supplies into space. The United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan is scheduled to launch in 2019 and Blue Origin is currently working on a model called the New Glenn, which will allegedly be able to deliver 100,000 pounds of cargo (or space tourists) to lower Earth orbit.

NASA is also trying to compete with privatized space exploration companies, developing their own giant rocket known as the Space Launch System, which they claim to be the most powerful rocket ever created. While the look and size are quite similar to the now-antique Saturn V, this rocket will have a capacity of 150,000 and 290,000 pounds.

While this dwarfs the models being created by the private space industry, critics point out that due to its size and weight the Space Launch System is extremely expensive (around $1 billion per mission) and would just be launched once or twice a year, making it unable to compete with the ambitious launch schedules of companies like SpaceX.

Thanks to the introduction of privatized market competition in the space race, we’re now seeing more economic and fuel-efficient rockets than ever, and it seems that the rate of innovation will continue to accelerate at warp speed. Perhaps in another 50 years, moon vacations won’t just be for billionaires.

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment
  • swok on August 08 2017 said:
    I am surprised you don't include the tank of gas the security guard needed to get to work. It requires vast resources to get to space, because we have a lot of G.

    Then there is the real lesson of the Apollo program....there is no-where to go. Imagine if the Moon was Florida. Everyone would go nuts... Now wake up, the moon is not florida, it ain't even good for golf.

    This all means that outer space is a serious mismanagement of resources, and will have to wait until we can sustainably manage the space bubble we live on.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play