Something different this time around: a concept for Spacex' upper stage. The idea was to integrate all elements of the second stage into a single structure that can return to earth.
To make the vehicle compact, Merlin engine was replaced with twelve SuperDraco engines that are placed on the side of the rocket, similar to their position on Dragon crew capsule. This configuration provides the vehicle with enough power to reach the orbit. Fairings are part of the vehicle now, although the top part can be switched to acommodate Dragon capsule. To save on weight there are no landing legs, a precision landing on a special platform that can safely catch the vehicle is used instead.
|Dragon Crew capsule on the left with cargo configoration of the Falcon 9 rocket next to it. The third Falcon 9 carries the redesigned upper stage in cargo config and crew version on the far right.|