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Falcon 9

Falcon 9
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base SLC-4E with the first ten Iridium NEXT communication satellites (January 2017).
Function Orbital launch vehicle
Manufacturer SpaceX
Country of origin United States
Cost per launch FT: $62M[1]
Size
Height
  • FT: 70 m (230 ft)[2]
  • v1.1: 68.4 m (224 ft)[3]
  • v1.0: 54.9 m (180 ft)[4]
Diameter 3.7 m (12 ft)[2]
Mass
  • FT: 549,054 kg (1,210,457 lb)[2]
  • v1.1: 505,846 kg (1,115,200 lb)[3]
  • v1.0: 333,400 kg (735,000 lb)[4]
Stages 2
Capacity
Payload to LEO(28.5°)
  • FT: 22,800 kg (50,300 lb)[1]expendable
  • v1.1: 13,150 kg (28,990 lb)[3]
  • v1.0: 10,450 kg (23,040 lb)[4]
Payload to GTO(27°)
  • FT: 8,300 kg (18,300 lb) expendable,
    5,500 kg (12,100 lb) reusable[1]
  • v1.1: 4,850 kg (10,690 lb)[3]
  • v1.0: 4,540 kg (10,010 lb)[4]
Payload to Mars FT: 4,020 kg (8,860 lb)[1]
Associated rockets
Derivatives Falcon Heavy
Launch history
Status
  • FT Block 4: Active
  • FT Block 5: In development[5]
  • FT Block 3: Retired
  • v1.1: Retired
  • v1.0: Retired
Launch sites
Total launches
  • 52
    • FT: 32
    • v1.1: 15
    • v1.0: 5
Successes
  • 50
    • FT: 32
    • v1.1: 14
    • v1.0: 4
Failures 1 (v1.1CRS-7)
Partial failures 1 (v1.0CRS-1)[6]
Other 1 (FTAmos-6[a])
Landings 21 / 26 attempts
First flight
Last flight
First stage
Engines
Thrust
  • FT (late 2016): 7,607 kN (1,710,000 lbf)[10]
  • FT: 6,806 kN (1,530,000 lbf)[2]
  • v1.1: 5,885 kN (1,323,000 lbf)[3]
  • v1.0: 4,940 kN (1,110,000 lbf)[4]
Specific impulse
  • v1.1
    • Sea level: 282 seconds[11]
    • Vacuum: 311 seconds[11]
  • v1.0
    • Sea level: 275 seconds[4]
    • Vacuum: 304 seconds[4]
Burn time
  • FT: 162 seconds[2]
  • v1.1: 180 seconds[3]
  • v1.0: 170 seconds
Fuel LOX / RP-1
Second stage
Engines
Thrust
  • FT: 934 kN (210,000 lbf)[2]
  • v1.1: 801 kN (180,000 lbf)[3]
  • v1.0: 617 kN (139,000 lbf)[4]
Specific impulse
  • FT: 348 seconds[2]
  • v1.1: 340 seconds[3]
  • v1.0: 342 seconds[12]
Burn time
  • FT: 397 seconds[2]
  • v1.1: 375 seconds[3]
  • v1.0: 345 seconds[4]
Fuel LOX / RP-1

Falcon 9 is a family of two-stage-to-orbit medium lift launch vehicles, named for its use of nine Merlin first-stage engines, designed and manufactured by SpaceX. Variants include the initial v1.0 (expendable), v1.1 (partially-reusable), and current “Full Thrust” v1.2 (partially-reusable). Falcon 9 is powered by rocket engines utilizing liquid oxygen (LOX) and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) propellants.

The current “Full Thrust” version can lift payloads of up to 22,800 kilograms (50,300 lb) to low Earth orbit, and up to 8,300 kg (18,300 lb) to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), when flying in expendable mode.[1] The first stage can be recovered and reused for GTO payloads up to 5,500 kg (12,100 lb), automatically landing after disconnection of the second stage.[13][1][14][15]

In 2008, SpaceX won a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract 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 in October 2012.

The initial Falcon 9 version 1.0 flew five times from June 2010 to March 2013 and version 1.1 flew fifteen times from September 2013 to January 2016. The current “Full Thrust” version has been in service since December 2015. The Falcon Heavy derivative groups three Falcon 9 first stages together side by side. SpaceX intends to certify the Falcon 9 to be human-rated for transporting NASA astronauts to the ISS as part of the Commercial Crew Development program. In October 2016, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced an upcoming “final upgrade” called Falcon 9 Block 5, which will feature increased engine thrust, improved landing legs, and other minor improvements to help recovery and reuse.[5] The maiden flight is planned for April 2018.[16]

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