Falcon 9


Falcon 9
family of two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicles designed and manufactured by SpaceX
Logo of the Falcon 9
Ground-level view of a Falcon 9 lifting off from its launch pad
A Falcon 9 lifting off from LC-39A carrying Demo-2.
UseOrbital launch vehicle
ManufacturerSpaceX
Country of originUnited States
Cost per launch
  • New: US$62 million (2020),[1]
  • Reused: US$50 million (2019)[2]
Size
Height
  • FT: 70 m (230 ft)[3]
  • v1.1: 68.4 m (224 ft)[4]
  • v1.0: 54.9 m (180 ft)[5]
Diameter3.7 m (12 ft)[3]
Mass
  • FT: 549 t (1,210,000 lb)[3]
  • v1.1: 506 t (1,116,000 lb)[4]
  • v1.0: 333 t (734,000 lb)[5]
Stages2
Capacity
Payload to Low Earth orbit (LEO)
Orbital inclination28.5°
Mass
  • FT: 22.8 t (50,000 lb)[1] Expended
    15.6 t (34,000 lb) when landing on ASDS
  • v1.1: 13.1 t (29,000 lb)[4]
  • v1.0: 10.4 t (23,000 lb)[5]
Payload to Geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO)
Orbital inclination27.0°
Mass
  • FT: 8.3 t (18,000 lb) Expended
    5.5 t (12,000 lb) when landing on ASDS[1]
    3.5 t (7,700 lb) when RTLS[6]
  • v1.1: 4.8 t (11,000 lb)[4]
  • v1.0: 4.5 t (9,900 lb)[5]
Payload to Mars transfer orbit
MassFT: 4 t (8,800 lb)[1]
Associated rockets
Derivative workFalcon Heavy
Launch history
Status
  • FT Block 5: Active[7]
  • FT Block 4: Retired
  • FT Block 3: Retired
  • v1.1: Retired
  • v1.0: Retired
Launch sites
Total launches
  • 130
    • FT: 110
    • v1.1: 15
    • v1.0: 5
Success(es)
  • 128
    • FT: 110
    • v1.1: 14
    • v1.0: 4
Failure(s)1
(v1.1: CRS-7 in-flight)
Partial failure(s)1 (v1.0: CRS-1)[8]
Notable outcome(s)1 (FT: Amos-6 pre-flight destruction)
Landings89 / 98 attempts
First flight
Last flight
First stage
Powered by
Maximum thrust
  • FT (late 2016): 7.6 MN (770 tf; 1,700,000 lbf)[12]
  • FT: 6.8 MN (690 tf; 1,500,000 lbf)[3]
  • v1.1: 5.9 MN (600 tf; 1,300,000 lbf)[4]
  • v1.0: 4.9 MN (500 tf; 1,100,000 lbf)[5]
Specific impulse
  • v1.1
    • Sea level: 282 s (2.77 km/s)[13]
    • Vacuum: 311 s (3.05 km/s)[13]
  • v1.0
    • Sea level: 275 s (2.70 km/s)[5]
    • Vacuum: 304 s (2.98 km/s)[5]
Burn time
  • FT: 162 seconds[3]
  • v1.1: 180 seconds[4]
  • v1.0: 170 seconds
PropellantLOX / RP-1
Second stage
Powered by
Maximum thrust
  • FT: 934 kN (95.2 tf; 210,000 lbf)[3]
  • v1.1: 801 kN (81.7 tf; 180,000 lbf)[4]
  • v1.0: 617 kN (62.9 tf; 139,000 lbf)[5]
Specific impulse
  • FT: 348 s (3.41 km/s)[3]
  • v1.1: 340 s (3.3 km/s)[4]
  • v1.0: 342 s (3.35 km/s)[14]
Burn time
  • FT: 397 seconds[3]
  • v1.1: 375 seconds[4]
  • v1.0: 345 seconds[5]
PropellantLOX / RP-1

Falcon 9 is a partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX in the United States. The latest version of the first stage can return to Earth and be flown again multiple times. Both the first and second stages are powered by SpaceX Merlin engines, using cryogenic liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) as propellants. Its name is derived from the fictional Star Wars spacecraft, the Millennium Falcon, and the nine Merlin engines of the rocket's first stage.[15][16] The rocket evolved with versions v1.0 (2010–2013), v1.1 (2013–2016), v1.2 Full Thrust (2015–present), including the Block 5 Full Thrust variant, flying since May 2018. Unlike most rockets in service, which are expendable launch systems, since the introduction of the Full Thrust version, Falcon 9 is partially reusable, with the first stage capable of re-entering the atmosphere and landing vertically after separating from the second stage. This feat was achieved for the first time on flight 20 in December 2015. Since then, SpaceX has successfully landed boosters dozens of times, with individual first stages flying as many as ten times.

Falcon 9 can lift payloads of up to 22,800 kilograms (50,300 lb) to low Earth orbit (LEO), 8,300 kg (18,300 lb) to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) when expended, and 5,500 kg (12,100 lb) to GTO when the first stage is recovered, in a cargo shroud offering 145 cubic meters of volume.[1][17][18] The heaviest GTO payloads flown have been Intelsat 35e with 6,761 kg (14,905 lb), and Telstar 19V with 7,075 kg (15,598 lb). The latter was launched into a lower-energy GTO achieving an apogee well below the geostationary altitude,[19] while the former was launched into an advantageous super-synchronous transfer orbit.[20]

In 2008, SpaceX won a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract in NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) using the Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule. The first mission under this contract launched on 8 October 2012.[21] Falcon 9 has been human-rated for transporting NASA astronauts to the ISS as part of the NASA Commercial Crew Development program. Falcon 9 has been certified for the National Security Space Launch[22] program and NASA Launch Services Program as "Category 3", which can launch the most expensive, important, and complex NASA missions.[23] Falcon 9 has been considered as the world's most advanced space launch vehicle by various sources.[24][25][26] As of January 2021, Falcon 9 has the most launches among all U.S. rockets currently in operation and is the only U.S. rocket fully certified for transporting humans to the International Space Station,[27][28][29] and the only commercial rocket to launch humans to orbit.[30] On 24 January 2021, Falcon 9 set a new record for the most satellites launched by a single rocket carrying 143 satellites into orbit.[31]

Five rockets of the version 1.0 design were launched from June 2010 to March 2013. Version 1.1 conducted fifteen launches from September 2013 to January 2016. The "Full Thrust" version has been in service since December 2015, with several additional upgrades within this version. The latest Full Thrust variant, Block 5, was introduced in May 2018.[32] It features increased engine thrust, improved landing legs, and other minor improvements to help recovery and reuse. The Falcon Heavy derivative, first flown in February 2018, consists of a strengthened Falcon 9 first stage as its center core, with two additional Falcon 9 first stages attached and used as boosters. SpaceX plans to eventually replace Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy with the much larger, in-development Starship launch system.[33]

  1. ^ a b c d e Cite error: The named reference spacex-capabilities was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "SpaceX targets 2021 commercial Starship launch". 28 June 2019. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Cite error: The named reference falcon9-2015 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cite error: The named reference falcon9-2013 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cite error: The named reference falcon9-2010 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ "Air Force requirements will keep SpaceX from landing Falcon 9 booster after GPS launch". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 20 May 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  7. ^ Seemangal, Robin (4 May 2018). "SpaceX Test-Fires New Falcon 9 Block 5 Rocket Ahead of Maiden Flight (Updated)". Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  8. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (15 October 2012). "Orbcomm Craft Launched by Falcon 9 Falls out of Orbit". Space News. Archived from the original on 1 October 2021. Retrieved 15 October 2012. Orbcomm requested that SpaceX carry one of their small satellites (weighing a few hundred pounds, versus Dragon at over 12,000 pounds)... The higher the orbit, the more test data [Orbcomm] can gather, so they requested that we attempt to restart and raise altitude. NASA agreed to allow that, but only on condition that there be substantial propellant reserves, since the orbit would be close to the International Space Station. It is important to appreciate that Orbcomm understood from the beginning that the orbit-raising maneuver was tentative. They accepted that there was a high risk of their satellite remaining at the Dragon insertion orbit...
  9. ^ Graham, William (21 December 2015). "SpaceX returns to flight with OG2, nails historic core return". NASASpaceFlight. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015. The launch also marked the first flight of the Falcon 9 Full Thrust, internally known only as the "Upgraded Falcon 9"
  10. ^ Graham, Will (29 September 2013). "SpaceX successfully launches debut Falcon 9 v1.1". NASASpaceFlight. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  11. ^ Cite error: The named reference MSDB was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference falcon9-2016 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ a b "Falcon 9". SpaceX. 16 November 2012. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference SpaceX March 10, 2009 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ Malik, Tariq. "These SpaceX Rocket Landing Photos Are Simply Jaw-Dropping". Space.com. Archived from the original on 20 June 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  16. ^ Thomas, Rachael L. "SpaceX's rockets and spacecraft have really cool names. But what do they mean?". Florida Today. Archived from the original on 25 June 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  17. ^ Cite error: The named reference ElonMuskMITInteview was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  18. ^ Barbara Opall-Rome (12 October 2015). "IAI Develops Small, Electric-Powered COMSAT". DefenseNews. Archived from the original on 6 May 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2015. At 5.3 tons, Amos-6 is the largest communications satellite ever built by IAI. Scheduled for launch in early 2016 from Cape Canaveral aboard a Space-X Falcon 9 launcher, Amos-6 will replace Amos-2, which is nearing the end of its 16-year life.
  19. ^ Kyle, Ed (23 July 2018). "2018 Space Launch Report". Space Launch Report. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018. 07/22/18 Falcon 9 v1.2 F9-59 Telstar 19V 7.075 CC 40 GTO-
  20. ^ Todd, David. "Intelsat 35e is launched into advantageous super-synchronous transfer orbit by Falcon 9". Seradata. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  21. ^ Amos, Jonathan (8 October 2012). "SpaceX lifts off with ISS cargo". BBC News. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  22. ^ Kucinski, William. "All four NSSL launch vehicle developers say they'll be ready in 2021". Sae Mobilus. Archived from the original on 29 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  23. ^ Wall, Mike. "SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Certified to Launch NASA's Most Precious Science Missions". Space.com. Archived from the original on 29 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  24. ^ Light, Larry. "SpaceX, The Pursuit Of Quality And The Law Of The Diagonal". Forbes. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 17 August 2020. "SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches the world's most advanced rockets and spacecraft".
  25. ^ Arevalo, Evelyn. "NASA modified SpaceX contract to allow the reuse of previously-flown Falcon 9 rockets". Tesmanian. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 17 August 2020. "The company has designed and manufactured some of the world's most advanced rockets".
  26. ^ "SpaceX - Reusable Rockets". The Index Project. Archived from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2020. Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy are the worlds most advanced rockets - and they're reusable!
  27. ^ Cawley, James. "NASA and SpaceX Complete Certification of First Human-Rated Commercial Space System". NASA. Archived from the original on 24 February 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  28. ^ Berger, Eric. "The Falcon 9 just became America's workhorse rocket". Arstechnica. Archived from the original on 23 April 2020. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  29. ^ Wall, Mike. "Happy birthday, Falcon 9! SpaceX's workhorse rocket debuted 10 years ago today". Space.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  30. ^ "NASA and SpaceX launch astronauts into new era of private spaceflight". 30 May 2020. Archived from the original on 12 December 2020. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  31. ^ Wattles, Jackie. "SpaceX launches 143 satellites on one rocket in record-setting mission". CNN. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference cooper was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ Jeff Foust (29 September 2017). "Musk unveils revised version of giant interplanetary launch system Archived 8 October 2017 at Archive-It". SpaceNews. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.

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