In accordance with tweets printed by CEO Elon Musk on July 21st, SpaceX’s combined Starship and Super Heavy launch vehicle (BFR) might have as many as 41 Raptor engines at liftoff.
As with all different features of SpaceX’s next-generation rocket, this can be a signal that things stay in flux as the company near the point at which particular design will need to be resolved on for the first flight-ready prototype. With 6 Raptors on the upper stage (Starship) and 35 Raptors on the first stage/booster (Super Heavy), the rocket will – no doubt – be probably the most highly effective launch vehicle ever developed when it makes an attempt its inaugural launch. Now anticipated to feature 35 Raptors in its remaining iteration, SpaceX’s Super Heavy booster can now be expected to provide a minimum of ~70,000 kN (15.7M lbs) of thrust at full throttle, assuming that all 35 Raptors are the throttleable ~2000 kN variant. Based on Musk, SpaceX may develop a simplified Raptor with minimal throttling that will produce upwards of ~2500 kN (550,000 lbs) of thrust.
If, say, 5 throttleable Raptors have been saved as the center cluster of engines used for a landing and important recovery-related burns, a Super Heavy booster with 30 uprated Raptors might produce upwards of 85,000 kN (19.1M lbs) of pressure at launch. In no unsure terms, a Super Heavy booster anywhere inside these rough bounds (70 MN to 85 MN) could be packing double the thrust of NASA’s Saturn V rocket and double the thrust of NASA’s in-growth SLS rocket in its higher-thrust variants.