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Falcon 9

falcon 9 launch, falcon 9
Falcon 9 is a family of two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicles, named for its use of nine first-stage engines, designed and manufactured by SpaceX The Falcon 9 versions are the Falcon 9 v10 retired, Falcon 9 v11 retired, and the current Falcon 9 Full Thrust, a partially-reusable launch system Both stages are powered by rocket engines that burn liquid oxygen LOX and rocket-grade kerosene RP-1 propellants The first stage is designed to be reusable, while the second stage is not13 The Falcon 9 versions are in the medium-lift to heavy-lift range of launch systems The current Falcon 9 "Full Thrust"14 can lift payloads of up to 22,800 kilograms 50,300 lb to low Earth orbit,3 and up to 8,300 kilograms 18,300 lb to geostationary transfer orbit1516

The Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule combination won a Commercial Resupply Services CRS contract from NASA in 2008 to deliver cargo to the International Space Station ISS under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services COTS program The first commercial resupply mission to the ISS launched in October 2012 The initial version 10 design made five flights before it was retired in 2013 The version 11 design made a total of 15 flights beginning in 2013 before it was retired in January 2016

SpaceX has been flying an improved version with 30 percent higher performance —Falcon 9 Full Thrust—since December 2015 on the 20th Falcon 9 launch This followed the 2013 upgrade which was 60 percent heavier —Falcon 9 v11—that flew from September 2013 on the sixth Falcon 9 launch,17 through January 2016 on the 21st Falcon 9 launch Falcon 9 Full Thrust will be the base for the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle SpaceX intends to complete testing in order to achieve certification for the Falcon 9 to be human-rated for transporting NASA astronauts to the ISS as part of a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract, also using the Full Thrust version Elon Musk announced that there will be a final upgrade to the Falcon 9, Falcon 9 Block 5 previously known unofficially as Falcon 9 13 This upgrade will mainly increase the thrust on the engines to the maximum they can produce and will make some improvements to the landing legs There will also be some minor improvements to help recovery and reuse, among other smaller things 18

Contents

  • 1 Development and production
    • 11 Funding
    • 12 Development, production, and testing history
      • 121 Production
  • 2 Launcher versions
    • 21 Common design elements
    • 22 Falcon 9 v10
    • 23 Falcon 9 v11
      • 231 Payload fairing
    • 24 Falcon 9 Full Thrust
    • 25 Falcon 9 Block 5
    • 26 Comparison
  • 3 Features
    • 31 Reliability
    • 32 Engine-out capability
    • 33 Reusability
      • 331 Post-mission flight tests and landing attempts
      • 332 Relaunch of previously-flown first stages
  • 4 Launch sites
  • 5 Launch prices
    • 51 Secondary payload services
  • 6 Launch history
    • 61 Notable flights
  • 7 See also
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

Development and productionedit

From left to right, Falcon 1, Falcon 9 v10, three versions of Falcon 9 v11, two versions of Falcon 9 v12 Full Thrust, and two versions of Falcon Heavy the latter two have not flown

Fundingedit

While SpaceX spent its own money to develop the previous launcher, Falcon 1, development of the Falcon 9 was accelerated by the provision of some development funding plus the purchase of several demonstration flights by NASA This started with seed money from the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services COTS program in 20061920 The specifics include that the contract form was that of a Space Act Agreement SAA "to develop and demonstrate commercial orbital transportation service"20 including the purchase of three demonstration flights21 The overall contract award was US$278 million to provide development funding for Dragon, Falcon 9, plus demonstration launches of Falcon 9 with Dragon In 2011 additional milestones were added to the contract bringing the total contract value to US$396 million22

NASA later became an anchor tenant2324 for the vehicle when, in 2008, they contracted to purchase 12 Commercial Resupply Services launches—launches that would occur only after the initial COTS demonstration missions were completed and deemed to be successful—to the International Space Station The delivery contract, worth US$16 billion, was for a minimum of 12 missions to carry supplies to and from the station25

Musk has repeatedly said that, without the NASA money, development would have taken longer SpaceX's statement about the NASA contract was:

SpaceX has only come this far by building upon the incredible achievements of NASA, having NASA as an anchor tenant for launch, and receiving expert advice and mentorship throughout the development process SpaceX would like to extend a special thanks to the NASA COTS office for their continued support and guidance throughout this process The COTS program has demonstrated the power of a true private/public partnership and we look forward to the exciting endeavors our team will accomplish in the future23

In 2011, SpaceX estimated that Falcon 9 v10 development costs were on the order of $300 million26 NASA evaluated that development costs would have been $36 billion if a traditional cost-plus contract approach had been used27

In 2014, SpaceX released total combined development costs for both the Falcon 9 and the Dragon capsule NASA provided US$396 million while SpaceX provided over US$450 million to fund rocket and capsule development efforts28

Development, production, and testing historyedit

Falcon 9 rocket cores under construction at the SpaceX Hawthorne facility

SpaceX originally intended to follow its light Falcon 1 launch vehicle with an intermediate capacity vehicle, the Falcon 529 In 2005, SpaceX announced it was instead proceeding with development of the Falcon 9, a "fully reusable heavy lift launch vehicle", and had already secured a government customer The Falcon 9 was described as being capable of launching approximately 9,500 kg 21,000 lb to low Earth orbit, and was projected to be priced at $27 million per flight with a 37 m 12 ft fairing and $35 million with a 52 m 17 ft fairing SpaceX also announced development of a heavy version of the Falcon 9 with a payload capacity of approximately 25,000 kg 55,000 lb30 The Falcon 9 was intended to enable launches to LEO, GTO, as well as both crew and cargo vehicles to the ISS29

The original NASA COTS contract called for the first demonstration flight of Falcon in September 2008, and completion of all three demonstration missions by September 200931 In February 2008, the plan for the first Falcon 9/Dragon COTS Demo flight was delayed by six months to late in the first quarter of 2009 According to Elon Musk, the complexity of the development work and the regulatory requirements for launching from Cape Canaveral contributed to the delay32

The first multi-engine test with two engines connected to the first stage, firing simultaneously was successfully completed in January 2008,33 with successive tests leading to the full Falcon 9 complement of nine engines test fired for a full mission length 178 seconds of the first stage on November 22, 200834 In October 2009, the first flight-ready first stage had a successful all-engine test fire at the company's test stand in McGregor, Texas In November 2009 SpaceX conducted the initial second stage test firing lasting forty seconds This test succeeded without aborts or recycles On January 2, 2010, a full-duration 329 seconds orbit-insertion firing of the Falcon 9 second stage was conducted at the McGregor test site35 The full stack arrived at the launch site for integration at the beginning of February 2010, and SpaceX initially scheduled a launch date of March 22, 2010, though they estimated anywhere between one and three months for integration and testing36

On February 25, 2010, SpaceX's first flight stack was set vertical at Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral,37 and on March 9, SpaceX performed a static fire test, where the first stage was to be fired without taking off The test aborted at T-2 seconds due to a failure in the system designed to pump high-pressure helium from the launch pad into the first stage turbopumps, which would get them spinning in preparation for launch Subsequent review showed that the failure occurred when a valve did not receive a command to open As the problem was with the pad and not with the rocket itself, it didn't occur at the McGregor test site, which did not have the same valve setup Some fire and smoke were seen at the base of the rocket, leading to speculation of an engine fire However, the fire and smoke were the result of normal burnoff from the liquid oxygen and fuel mix present in the system prior to launch, and no damage was sustained by the vehicle or the test pad All vehicle systems leading up to the abort performed as expected, and no additional issues were noted that needed addressing A subsequent test on March 13 was successful in firing the nine first-stage engines for 35 seconds38

The first flight was delayed from March 2010 to June due to review of the Falcon 9 flight termination system by the Air Force The first launch attempt occurred at 1:30 pm EDT on Friday, June 4, 2010 1730 UTC The launch was aborted shortly after ignition, and the rocket successfully went through a failsafe abort39 Ground crews were able to recycle the rocket, and successfully launched it at 2:45 pm EDT 1845 UTC the same day40

The second Falcon 9 launch, and first COTS demo flight, lifted off on December 8, 201041

The second Falcon 9 version—v11—was developed in 2010–2013, and launched for the first time in September 2013, and the final time in January 2016

The third Falcon 9 version—Falcon 9 Full Thrust—was developed in 2014–2015, and launched for the first time in December 2015

Productionedit

In December 2010, the SpaceX production line was manufacturing one Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft every three months, with a plan to double the rate to one every six weeks42 By September 2013, SpaceX total manufacturing space had increased to nearly 1,000,000 square feet 93,000 m2 and the factory had been configured to achieve a maximum production rate of 40 rocket cores per year43 The factory was producing one Falcon 9 vehicle per month as of November 2013 The company planned to increase to 18 vehicles per year in mid-2014, 24 per year by the end of 2014,4445 and 40 rocket cores per year by the end of 201546

These production rates were not achieved by February 2016 as previously planned; the company indicated that production rate for Falcon 9 cores had only recently increased to 18 per year, and the number of first stage cores that can be assembled at one time had doubled from three to six The production rate was expected to grow to 30 cores per year by the end of 201647 but as of August 2016update SpaceX is working towards a production capacity of 40 cores per year,48 the capacity the factory was configured for in 201343

Launcher versionsedit

The original Falcon 9 flew five successful orbital launches in 2010–2013 The much larger Falcon 9 v11 made its first flight on September 29, 2013 The demonstration mission carried a very small 500 kilograms 1,100 lb primary payload, the CASSIOPE satellite, that was manifested at a "cut rate price" due to the demo mission nature of the flight49 Larger payloads followed for v11 with the launch of the large SES-8 and Thaicom communications satellites, each inserted successfully into GTO50 Both Falcon 9 v10 and Falcon 9 v11 are expendable launch vehicles ELVs The third—and current—version of the Falcon 9 is the Falcon 9 Full Thrust which made its first flight in December 2015 and has made eight additional flights during the first eight months of 2016

The first stage of the Falcon 9 Full Thrust version is reusable SpaceX called the first few landing attempts "experimental" until the JCSAT-16 missioncitation needed Initial low-velocity low-altitude atmospheric testing was conducted on the Grasshopper experimental technology-demonstrator reusable launch vehicle RLV which made eight test flights in 2012 and 2013,51 and five flights of a second RLV test vehicle—F9R Dev1—were made during 20145253

Common design elementsedit

All Falcon 9 versions are two-stage, LOX/RP-1-powered launch vehicles

The Falcon 9 tank walls and domes are made from aluminum lithium alloy SpaceX uses an all friction-stir welded tank, the highest strength and most reliable welding technique available5 The second stage tank of a Falcon 9 is simply a shorter version of the first stage tank and uses most of the same tooling, material and manufacturing techniques, reducing production costs5

Both stages use a pyrophoric mixture of triethylaluminum-triethylborane TEA-TEB as an engine ignitor54

SpaceX uses multiple redundant flight computers in a fault-tolerant design Each Merlin rocket engine is controlled by three voting computers, each of which has two physical processors that constantly check each other The software runs on Linux and is written in C++55 For flexibility, commercial off-the-shelf parts and system-wide radiation-tolerant design are used instead of rad-hardened parts55 Each stage has stage-level flight computers, in addition to the Merlin-specific engine controllers, of the same fault-tolerant triad design to handle stage control functions

The Falcon 9 interstage, which connects the upper and lower stage for Falcon 9, is a carbon-fiber aluminum-core composite structure Reusable separation collets and a pneumatic pusher system separate the stages The original design stage separation system had twelve attachment points, which was reduced to just three in the v11 launcher49

Falcon 9 v10edit

Main article: Falcon 9 v10 A Falcon 9 v10 launches with an uncrewed Dragon spacecraft in 2012 Falcon 9 booster tank at the SpaceX factory, 2008

The first version of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, Falcon 9 v10, is an expendable launch vehicle ELV that was developed in 2005–2010, and was launched for the first time in 2010 Falcon 9 v10 made five flights in 2010–2013, after which it was retired

Falcon 9 v10 left and v11 right engine configurations

The Falcon 9 v10 first stage was powered by nine SpaceX Merlin 1C rocket engines arranged in a 3×3 pattern Each of these engines had a sea-level thrust of 556 kilonewtons 125,000 lbf for a total thrust on liftoff of about 5,000 kilonewtons 1,100,000 lbf5 The Falcon 9 v10 second stage was powered by a single Merlin 1C engine modified for vacuum operation, with an expansion ratio of 117:1 and a nominal burn time of 345 seconds

Gaseous N2 thrusters were used on the Falcon 9 v10 second-stage as a reaction control system56 The thrusters are used to hold a stable attitude for payload separation or, as a non-standard service, could have been used to spin up the stage and payload to a maximum of 5 rotations per minute RPM56needs update

SpaceX expressed hopes initially that both stages would eventually be reusable But early results from adding lightweight thermal protection system TPS capability to the booster stage and using parachute recovery were not successful,57 leading to abandonment of that approach and the initiation of a new design In 2011, SpaceX began a formal and funded development program for a reusable Falcon 9 second stage, with the early program focus however on return of the first stage58 However, by late 2014, SpaceX had apparently abandoned plans for recovering and reusing the second stage13

Falcon 9 v11edit

Main article: Falcon 9 v11 The launch of the first Falcon 9 v11 from SLC-4, Vandenberg AFB Falcon 9 Flight 6 on September 29, 2013

The Falcon 9 v11 ELV is a 60 percent heavier rocket with 60 percent more thrust than the v10 version of the Falcon 949 It includes realigned first-stage engines59 and 60 percent longer fuel tanks, making it more susceptible to bending during flight49 Development testing of the v11 first stage was completed in July 20136061 The Falcon 9 v11, first launched on September 29, 2013, uses a longer first stage powered by nine Merlin 1D engines arranged in an "octagonal" pattern,6263 that SpaceX calls Octaweb This is designed to simplify and streamline the manufacturing process64

The v11 first stage has a total sea-level thrust at liftoff of 5,885 kilonewtons 1,323,000 lbf, with the nine engines burning for a nominal 180 seconds, while stage thrust rises to 6,672 kilonewtons 1,500,000 lbf as the booster climbs out of the atmosphere4 The engines have been upgraded to the more powerful Merlin 1D These improvements increased the payload capability from 9,000 kilograms 20,000 lb to 13,150 kilograms 28,990 lb4 The stage separation system has been redesigned and reduces the number of attachment points from twelve to three,49 and the vehicle has upgraded avionics and software as well49 The new first stage will also be used as side boosters on the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle65

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell has stated the Falcon 9 v11 has about 30 percent more payload capacity than published on its standard price list, the extra margin reserved for returning of stages via powered re-entry66 Though SpaceX has signed agreements with SES for two launches of satellites up to 5,330 kilograms 11,750 lb, exceeding the price list offering of 4,850 kilograms 10,690 lb by approximately 10 percent, these satellites will be dropped off in a sub-GTO trajectory and subsequently use on board propellant to raise their orbits67

Four extensible carbon fiber with aluminum honeycomb landing legs were included on later flights where landings were attempted686970

Following the September 2013 launch, the second stage igniter propellant lines were insulated to better support in-space restart following long coast phases for orbital trajectory maneuvers44 Further improvements were planned for mid-2015 including uprated engine thrust, increased propellant capacity by deep chilling the propellant and propellant tank volume increase71

Payload fairingedit

The sixth flight CASSIOPE, 2013 was the first launch of the Falcon 9 configured with a jettisonable payload fairing, which introduced an additional separation event – a risky operation that has doomed many previous government and commercial launch missions,72 including the 2009 Orbiting Carbon Observatory and 2011 Glory satellite, both on Taurus rockets

Fairing design was done by SpaceX, with production of the 13 m 43 ft-long, 52 m 17 ft-diameter payload fairing done in Hawthorne, California at the SpaceX rocket factory Since the first five Falcon 9 launches had a capsule and did not carry a large satellite, no fairing was required on those flights It was required on the CASSIOPE flight, as with most satellites, in order to protect the payload during launch Testing of the new fairing design was completed at NASA's Plum Brook Station test facility in spring 2013 where the acoustic shock and mechanical vibration of launch, plus electromagnetic static discharge conditions, were simulated on a full-size fairing test article in a very large vacuum chamber SpaceX paid NASA US$581,300 to lease test time in the $150 million NASA simulation chamber facility72 The fairing separated without incident during the launch of CASSIOPE

Payload fairings have survived descent and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean In June 2015, wreckage of an unidentified Falcon 9 launch vehicle was found off the coast of The Bahamas, which was confirmed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to be a component of the payload fairing that washed ashore Musk also noted the concept of fairing reusability in a statement: "This is helpful for figuring out fairing reusability"73

Falcon 9 Full Thrustedit

Main article: Falcon 9 Full Thrust

The "Full Thrust upgrade" version1474—the third major version of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle following the Falcon 9 v10 launched 2010–2013 and the Falcon 9 v11 launched 2013–January 2016—has cryogenic cooling of propellant to increase density allowing more thrust, improved stage separation system, stretched upper stage that can hold additional propellant, and strengthened struts for holding helium bottles believed to have been involved with the failure of flight 1975

SpaceX pricing and payload specifications published for the non-reusable Falcon 9 v11 rocket as of March 2014update actually included about 30 percent more performance than the published price list indicated; the additional performance was reserved for SpaceX to do reusability testing with the Falcon 9 v11 while still achieving the specified payloads for customers Many engineering changes to support reusability and recovery of the first stage had been made on the v11 version and testing was successful, with SpaceX having room to increase the payload performance for the Full Thrust version, or decrease launch price, or both76

SpaceX previously referred to a Falcon 9-R that was less a version of the rocket and more an aspiration of where development should be headingcitation needed As early as 2009 Elon Musk indicated a desire to make the Falcon 9 the first fully reusable launch vehicle77 The latest version of the rocket has a reusable first stage after successful testing in December 2015 However, plans to reuse the Falcon 9 second-stage booster have been abandoned as the weight of a heat shield and other equipment would impinge on payload too much for this to be economically feasible for this rocket13 The reusable booster stage was developed using systems and software tested on the Grasshopper and F9R Dev technology demonstrators, as well as a set of technologies being developed by SpaceX to facilitate rapid reusability

Falcon 9 Block 5edit

On October 23, 2016, Musk described a Falcon 9 "Block 5" version that would have "a lot of minor refinements that collectively are important, but uprated thrust and improved legs are the most significant"78 He described this version as the "final" version of the rocket Block 5 is expected to start production in early 2017 with the initial flight in the second or the third quarter of 201778

Comparisonedit

Version Falcon 9 v10 retired Falcon 9 v11 retired Falcon 9 Full Thrust active7 Falcon 9 Block 5 in development
Stage 1 9 × Merlin 1C 9 × Merlin 1D 9 × Merlin 1D+ 79 9 × Merlin 1D++ further upgraded Merlin 1D 80
Stage 2 1 × Merlin 1C Vacuum 1 × Merlin 1D Vacuum 1 × Merlin 1D+ Vacuum 7479 1 × Merlin 1D++ Vacuum 81
Max height m 5365 6844 70374 Currently unknown, most likely 70
Diameter m 36682 36683 36674 366
Initial thrust kN 3,807 5,8854 6,804374

7,6071084 late 2016

8,451
Takeoff mass tonnes 31865 5064 5493 Currently unknown
Fairing diameter m N/Ab 52 52 52
Payload to LEO kg 8,500–9,000 launch at Cape Canaveral65 13,150 from Cape Canaveral4 22,800 expendable, from Cape Canaveral1 Currently unknown
Payload to GTO kg 3,40065 4,8504 8,3001 expendable
at least 5,3001516 reusable
Currently unknown
Success ratio 5/5c 14/15 8/9a 0/0
  1. ^ a b c d One rocket and payload were destroyed before launch in preparation for static fire86
  2. ^ The Falcon 9 v10 only launched the Dragon spacecraft; it never launched with the clam-shell payload fairing
  3. ^ On SpaceX CRS-1, the primary payload, Dragon, was successful A secondary payload was placed in an incorrect orbit because of a changed flight profile due to the malfunction and shut-down of a single first-stage engine Likely enough fuel and oxidizer remained on the second stage for orbital insertion, but not enough to be within NASA safety margins for the protection of the International Space Station85

Featuresedit

Reliabilityedit

SpaceX has predicted that its launches will have high reliability based on the philosophy that "through simplicity, reliability and low cost can go hand-in-hand",87 but this remains to be shown As a comparison, the Russian Soyuz series has more than 1,700 launches to its credit, far more than any other rocket88 with a success rate of 7001970000000000000♠97%89 75% of current launch vehicles have had at least one failure in the first three flights90 As of November 2016update, Falcon 9 has achieved 28 out of 30 primary missions, with one rocket destroyed in flight and one on the launch pad during fueling for an engine test, yielding a success rate of 7001930000000000000♠93%

As with the company's smaller Falcon 1 vehicle, Falcon 9's launch sequence includes a hold-down feature that allows full engine ignition and systems check before liftoff After first-stage engine start, the launcher is held down and not released for flight until all propulsion and vehicle systems are confirmed to be operating normally Similar hold-down systems have been used on other launch vehicles such as the Saturn V91 and Space Shuttle An automatic safe shut-down and unloading of propellant occurs if any abnormal conditions are detected5 Prior to the launch date, SpaceX always completes a test of the Falcon 9 culminating in a firing of the first stage's Merlin 1D engines for three-and-a-half seconds to verify performance92

Falcon 9 has triple redundant flight computers and inertial navigation, with a GPS overlay for additional orbit insertion accuracy5

Engine-out capabilityedit

Like the Saturn rocket series from the Apollo program, the presence of multiple first-stage engines allow for mission completion even if one of the first-stage engines fails during flight593 Detailed descriptions of several aspects of destructive engine failure modes and designed-in engine-out capabilities were made public by SpaceX in a 2007 "update" that was publicly released94

SpaceX emphasized over several years that the Falcon 9 first stage is designed for engine out capability5 The SpaceX CRS-1 mission in October 2012 was a partial success after an engine failure in the first stage: engine no 1 experienced a loss of pressure at 79 seconds, and then shut down To compensate for the resulting loss of acceleration, the first stage had to burn 28 seconds longer than planned, and the second stage had to burn an extra 15 seconds That extra burn time of the second stage reduced its fuel reserves, so that the likelihood that there was sufficient fuel to reach the planned orbit above the space station with the secondary payload dropped from 99% to 95% Because NASA had purchased the launch and therefore contractually controlled a number of mission decision points, NASA declined SpaceX's request to restart the second stage and attempt to deliver the secondary payload into the correct orbit This risk was understood by the secondary payload customer at time of the signing of the launch contract As a result, the secondary payload satellite reentered the atmosphere a few days after launch6

Reusabilityedit

Main article: SpaceX reusable launch system development program

It was intended to recover the first stages of several early Falcon flights to assist engineers in designing for future reusability They were equipped with parachutes but SpaceX was not successful in recovering the stages from the initial test launches using that approach due to their failure to survive post separation aerodynamic stress and heating57 Although reusability of the second stage is more difficult, SpaceX intended from the beginning to make both stages of the Falcon 9 reusable95

Both stages in the early launches were covered with a layer of ablative cork and had parachutes to land them gently in the sea The stages were also marinized by salt-water corrosion resistant material, anodizing and paying attention to galvanic corrosion95 In early 2009, Musk stated:

By Falcon 1 flight six we think it's highly likely we’ll recover the first stage, and when we get it back we’ll see what survived through re-entry, and what got fried, and carry on with the process  That's just to make the first stage reusable, it'll be even harder with the second stage – that has got to have a full heatshield, it'll have to have deorbit propulsion and communication57

Musk said that if the vehicle does not become reusable, "I will consider us to have failed"96 In the event, SpaceX had to develop an entirely different approach that did not use parachutes and they first recovered a Falcon 9 booster on flight 20 in December 2015

In late 2011, SpaceX announced a change in the approach, eliminating the parachutes and going with a propulsively-powered-descent approach On September 29, 2011, Musk suggested a privately funded program to develop powered descent and recovery of both Falcon 9 stages – a fully vertical takeoff, vertical landing VTVL rocket9798 Included was a video99 said to be an approximation depicting the first stage returning tail-first for a powered descent and the second stage, with heat shield, reentering head first before rotating for a powered descent98100

LC-40 at Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida, after construction of Falcon 9 launch structures in 2009

Design was complete on the system for "bringing the rocket back to launchpad using only thrusters" in February 201258 The reusable launch system technology was then under consideration for both the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy; it was considered particularly well suited to the Falcon Heavy where the two outer cores separate from the rocket much earlier in the flight profile, and are therefore moving at lower velocity at stage separation58

A reusable first stage was then flight tested by SpaceX with the suborbital Grasshopper rocket101 By April 2013, a low-altitude, low-speed demonstration test vehicle, Grasshopper v10, had made five VTVL test flights including an 80-second hover flight to an altitude of 744 m 2,441 ft

In March 2013, SpaceX announced that, beginning with the first flight of the stretch version of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle—the sixth flight overall of Falcon 9, every first stage would be instrumented and equipped as a controlled descent test vehicle SpaceX continued their propulsive-return over-water tests, saying they "will continue doing such tests until they can do a return to the launch site and a powered landing They expect several failures before they 'learn how to do it right'"69

For the early-fall 2013 flight, after stage separation, the first-stage booster attempted to conduct a burn to slow it down and then a second burn just before it reached the water SpaceX stated they expected several powered-descent tests to achieve successful recovery70

Photos of the first test of the restartable ignition system for the reusable Falcon 9—the Falcon 9-R—with the nine-engine v11 circular-engine configuration were released in April 2013102

By late 2014, SpaceX determined that the mass needed for a re-entry heat shield, landing engines, and other equipment to support recovery of the second stage was prohibitive, and suspended or abandoned their second-stage reusability plans for the Falcon line13103

In March 2015, SpaceX publicly announced they were developing an upgraded version of the rocket to support first-stage reusability on flights to geosynchronous and other high energy orbits The modifications included increasing engine thrust on both stages by 15%, increasing upper stage tank volume by 10%, and subcooling the propellants to obtain greater density104 The cryogenic oxygen is cooled to −207 °C, yielding an 8% density increase, while the RP-1 fuel is cooled to −7 °C giving a 25–4% density increase82 This performance increase compensates for the fuel reserved by the first stage for return and landing This upgraded version, termed Falcon 9 Full Thrust, first flew on 21 December 2015

Post-mission flight tests and landing attemptsedit

Main article: Falcon 9 first-stage landing tests Falcon 9 Flight 17's first stage attempting a controlled landing on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship following the launch of CRS-6 to the International Space Station on April 14, 2015 The stage landed hard and tipped over, exploding after landing

The post-mission test plan called for the first-stage booster on the sixth Falcon 9 flight, and several subsequent F9 flights, to do a burn to reduce the first stage's horizontal velocity and then effect a second burn just before it reached the water SpaceX announced the test program in March 2013, and continued to conduct tests until they could attempt another drone ship water powered landing69

Falcon 9 Flight 6's first stage performed the first propulsive-return over-water tests on 29 September 2013105 Although not a complete success, the stage was able to change direction and make a controlled entry into the atmosphere105 During the final landing burn, the ACS thrusters could not overcome an aerodynamically induced spin, and centrifugal force deprived the landing engine of fuel leading to early engine shutdown and a hard splashdown that destroyed the first stage Pieces of wreckage were recovered for further study105

The next test, using the first stage from SpaceX CRS-3, led to a successful soft ocean landing, however it presumably broke up in heavy seas before it could be recovered106

After further ocean landing tests, the first stage of the CRS-5 launch vehicle attempted a landing on a floating landing platform, the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship on January 10, 2015 The rocket guided itself to the ship successfully, but ran out of hydraulic fluid and lost its steering ability, causing it to tip over and explode on impact with the launch platform107

The Falcon 9's first successful first-stage landing happened on land at Landing Zone 1 on December 21, 2015108 during the RTF mission for Orbcomm

The first successful first-stage landing on a floating platform happened on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship Of Course I Still Love You on April 8, 2016 during the SpaceX CRS-8 mission

On September 1, 2016, during a routine preflight readiness test at Cape Canaveral's LC-40, an explosion occurred in the second stage during fueling, completely destroying the launch vehicle and causing extensive pad damage The payload, Spacecom's AMOS-6 communications satellite was destroyed on impact with the ground The incident was the first on-pad explosion at Cape Canaveral involving an orbital launch vehicle since the Atlas-Able 9C disaster in 1959109

Relaunch of previously-flown first stagesedit

The first operational re-use of a previously-flown Falcon 9 booster is scheduled for February 2017110 on the SES-10 mission111

Launch sitesedit

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket delivered the ABS 3A and EUTELSAT 115 West B satellites to a supersynchronous transfer orbit, launching from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Sunday, March 1, 2015

Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was the Falcon 9's first launch site and is the main location for ISS cargo resupply launches and for payloads going to geostationary orbits A second SpaceX-leased launch site is located at Vandenberg Air Force Base's SLC-4 and is used for polar-orbit launches The Vandenberg site became active on 29 September 2013 when it launched the Canadian-built CASSIOPE satellite96105

Locations in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico were evaluated for a third site intended solely for commercial launches112113 The Boca Chica site in South Texas was selected in August 2014 to build the spaceport114 Launches could commence in late 2017 or 201847 Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 pad A has been "activated" indicating it is ready for launches of the Falcon Heavy rocket and also the Falcon 9 but has not yet been used by SpaceX

Launch pricesedit

At the time of the rocket's maiden flight in 2010, the price of a Falcon 9 v10 launch was listed from $499 to $56 million5 By 2012, the listed price range had increased to $54–$595 million115 In August 2013, the initial list price for a Falcon 9 v11 was $565 million;116 it was raised to $612 million by June 2014117 As of May 2016update the standard price for a Falcon 9 Full Thrust mission allowing booster recovery was published as $62 million1 Dragon cargo missions to the ISS have an average cost of $133 million under a fixed price contract with NASA, including the cost of the capsule118 The DSCOVR mission, also launched with Falcon 9 for NOAA, cost $97 million119

In 2004, Elon Musk stated, "long term plans call for development of a heavy lift product and even a super-heavy, if there is customer demand Ultimately, I believe $500 per pound $1100/kg of payload delivered to orbit or less is very achievable"120 At its 2016 launch price and at full LEO payload capacity, the Falcon 9 FT cost $1,233 per pound $2,719/kg

In 2011, Musk estimated that fuel and oxidizer for the Falcon 9 v10 rocket cost a total of about $200,000121 The first stage uses 39,000 US gallons 150,000 L of liquid oxygen and almost 25,000 US gallons 95,000 L of kerosene, while the second stage uses 7,300 US gallons 28,000 L of liquid oxygen and 4,600 US gallons 17,000 L of kerosene1

Secondary payload servicesedit

Falcon 9 payload services include secondary and tertiary payload connection via an EELV Secondary Payload Adapter ring, the same interstage adapter first used for launching secondary payloads on US DoD missions that use the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles EELV Atlas V and Delta IV This enables secondary and even tertiary missions with minimal impact to the original mission As of 2011update, SpaceX announced pricing for ESPA-compatible payloads on the Falcon 9122

Launch historyedit

This section is transcluded from List of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches edit | history

Rockets from the Falcon 9 family have been launched 29 times over 6 years, resulting in 27 full mission successes, one partial success with primary orbital payload delivery completed, but a secondary payload left in a lower-than-planned orbit, and one failure with total loss of spacecraft Additionally, one rocket and payload were destroyed before launch in preparation for an on-pad static fire test123 This yields a reliability record of 7001930000000000000♠93% of contracted primary missions Seven of twelve landing attempts 7001580000000000000♠58% have succeeded in recovering the rocket's first stage

The first rocket version Falcon 9 v10 was launched 5 times from June 2010 to March 2013, its successor Falcon 9 v11 15 times from September 2013 to January 2016 and the latest upgrade Falcon 9 Full Thrust 9 times from December 2015 to present

  1. ^ Experimental first-stage landings only


Notable flightsedit

Play media SpaceX Falcon 9 launch with COTS Demo Flight 1 Falcon 9 Flight 20 historic first-stage landing at CCAFS Landing Zone 1, on 21 December 2015
  • Falcon 9 Flight 1, success on maiden flight
  • Flight 2, COTS Demo Flight 1, first operational test of the Dragon capsule
  • Flight 3, Dragon C2+, first cargo delivery to the International Space Station
  • Flight 6, CASSIOPE, first Falcon v11, first launch from Vandenberg, first polar orbit, first scientific payload, first attempt at propulsive return of the first stage
  • Flight 7, SES-8, first launch to GTO, first commercial payload communications satellite
  • Flight 9, CRS-3, added landing legs, first fully controlled descent and vertical ocean touchdown zero altitude, zero velocity
  • Flight 14, CRS-5, added grid fins, first attempt at landing on drone ship, popular RUD video124
  • Flight 15, DSCOVR, first mission passing escape velocity to the Sun-Earth L1 point, a solar orbit beyond the Moon distance
  • Flight 16, ABS-3A and Eutelsat 115 West B, first launch of a dual satellite stack, innovative Boeing 702SP satellites using full electric propulsion with electrostatic ion thrusters
  • Flight 19, CRS-7, total loss of mission due to structural failure and helium overpressure in the second stage
  • Flight 20, Orbcomm OG-2, return to flight after accident investigation and corrective measures, first full-thrust rocket version, first deployment of multiple satellites 11 on this mission in a constellation from a custom dispenser, first vertical landing achieved on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral
  • Flight 22, SES-9, heaviest satellite launched to date 5,271 kg 11,621 lb towards GTO
  • Flight 23, CRS-8, first vertical landing achieved on a drone ship at sea
  • Flight 24, JCSAT-14, high-energy atmospheric re-entry, descent and landing from a GTO mission
  • Flight 29, AMOS-6, total vehicle and payload loss prior to static fire test

See alsoedit

  • Comparison of orbital launch systems
  • Falcon rocket family
  • KSLV-2, being developed by South Korea

Referencesedit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Capabilities & Services 2016" SpaceX Retrieved 3 May 2016 
  2. ^ https://wwwredditcom/r/spacex/comments/590wi9/i_am_elon_musk_ask_me_anything_about_becoming_a/d94v8p8/
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Falcon 9 2015" SpaceX Archived from the original on December 9, 2015 Retrieved 3 December 2015 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Falcon 9 2013" SpaceX Archived from the original on November 29, 2013 Retrieved 4 December 2013 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Falcon 9 Overview 2010" SpaceX Archived from the original on December 22, 2010 Retrieved 8 May 2010 
  6. ^ a b de Selding, Peter B 2012-10-11 "Orbcomm Craft Launched by Falcon 9 Falls out of Orbit" Space News Retrieved 2012-10-12 Orbcomm requested that SpaceX carry one of their small satellites weighing a few hundred pounds, vs 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 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 SpaceX would not have agreed to fly their satellite otherwise, since this was not part of the core mission and there was a known, material risk of no altitude raise 
  7. ^ a b Graham, William 21 December 2015 "SpaceX returns to flight with OG2, nails historic core return" NASASpaceFlight 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" 
  8. ^ Graham, Will "SpaceX successfully launches debut Falcon 9 v11" NASASpaceFlight Retrieved 29 September 2013 
  9. ^ "Detailed Mission Data – Falcon-9 ELV First Flight Demonstration" Mission Set Database NASA GSFC Retrieved 2010-05-26 
  10. ^ a b "Falcon 9 2016" SpaceX Archived from the original on July 15, 2013 Retrieved 3 May 2016 
  11. ^ a b "Falcon 9" SpaceX Archived from the original on May 1, 2013 Retrieved 29 September 2013 
  12. ^ "SpaceX Falcon 9 Upper Stage Engine Successfully Completes Full Mission Duration Firing" Press release SpaceX March 10, 2009 
  13. ^ a b c d Elon Musk interview at MIT, October 2014 October 24, 2014 Retrieved January 5, 2016 – via YouTube 
  14. ^ a b Shotwell, Gwynne 3 February 2016 Gwynne Shotwell comments at Commercial Space Transportation Conference Commercial Spaceflight Event occurs at 2:43:15–3:10:05 Retrieved 4 February 2016 We're still going to call it 'Falcon 9' but it's the full thrust upgrade 
  15. ^ a b Bergin, Chris February 8, 2016 "SpaceX prepares for SES-9 mission and Dragon's return" NASA Spaceflight Retrieved February 9, 2016 The aforementioned Second Stage will be tasked with a busy role during this mission, lofting the 5,300kg SES-9 spacecraft to its Geostationary Transfer Orbit 
  16. ^ a b Barbara Opall-Rome 12 October 2015 "IAI Develops Small, Electric-Powered COMSAT" DefenseNews Retrieved 12 October 2015 At 53 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 
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  45. ^ Amos, Jonathan 2013-12-03 "SpaceX launches SES commercial TV satellite for Asia" BBC News Retrieved 2013-12-11 The commercial market for launching telecoms spacecraft is tightly contested, but has become dominated by just a few companies - notably, Europe's Arianespace, which flies the Ariane 5, and International Launch Services ILS, which markets Russia's Proton vehicle SpaceX is promising to substantially undercut the existing players on price, and SES, the world's second-largest telecoms satellite operator, believes the incumbents had better take note of the California company's capability 
  46. ^ Svitak, Amy 2014-03-10 "SpaceX Says Falcon 9 To Compete For EELV This Year" Aviation Week Retrieved 2014-03-11 Within a year, we need to get it from where it is right now, which is about a rocket core every four weeks, to a rocket core every two weeksBy the end of 2015, says SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, the company plans to ratchet up production to 40 cores per year 
  47. ^ a b Foust, Jeff 2016-02-04 "SpaceX seeks to accelerate Falcon 9 production and launch rates this year" SpaceNews Retrieved 2016-02-06 
  48. ^ Martinez, Domingo August 2016 "Countdown to Liftoff" Texas Monthly Retrieved 2016-08-19 
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  50. ^ Beyond Frontiers Broadgate Publications September 2016 pp12
  51. ^ "SpaceX's reusable rocket testbed takes first hop" 2012-09-24 Retrieved 2012-11-07 
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  53. ^ Foust, Jeff 2014-08-23 "Falcon 9 test vehicle destroyed in accident" NewSpace Journal Retrieved 2016-08-19 
  54. ^ Mission Status Center, June 2, 2010, 1905 GMT, SpaceflightNow, accessed 2010-06-02, Quotation: "The flanges will link the rocket with ground storage tanks containing liquid oxygen, kerosene fuel, helium, gaserous nitrogen and the first stage ignitor source called triethylaluminum-triethylborane, better known as TEA-TAB"
  55. ^ a b Svitak, Amy 2012-11-18 "Dragon's "Radiation-Tolerant" Design" Aviation Week Archived from the original on 2013-12-03 Retrieved 2012-11-22 
  56. ^ a b "Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Payload User's Guide, 2009" PDF SpaceX 2009 Archived from the original PDF on April 29, 2011 Retrieved 2010-02-03 
  57. ^ a b c "Musk ambition: SpaceX aim for fully reusable Falcon 9" NASAspaceflightcom 2009-01-12 Retrieved 2013-05-09 With Falcon I's fourth launch, the first stage got cooked, so we’re going to beef up the Thermal Protection System TPS By flight six we think it's highly likely we’ll recover the first stage, and when we get it back we’ll see what survived through re-entry, and what got fried, and carry on with the process That's just to make the first stage reusable, it’ll be even harder with the second stage – that has got to have a full heatshield, it’ll have to have deorbit propulsion and communication 
  58. ^ a b c Simberg, Rand 2012-02-08 "Elon Musk on SpaceX's Reusable Rocket Plans" Popular Mechanics Retrieved 2013-03-08 
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  60. ^ "SpaceX Test-fires Upgraded Falcon 9 Core for Three Minutes" Space News Retrieved 2013-08-11 
  61. ^ Bergin, Chris 20 June 2013 "Reducing risk via ground testing is a recipe for SpaceX success" NASASpaceFlight not affiliated with NASA Retrieved 21 June 2013 
  62. ^ "The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2012" PDF Federal Aviation Administration February 2013 Retrieved 17 February 2013 
  63. ^ Clark, Stephen 2012-05-18 "Q&A with SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk" SpaceFlightNow Retrieved 2013-03-05 
  64. ^ "Octaweb" SpaceX 2013-07-29 Retrieved 2013-07-30 The Octaweb structure of the nine Merlin engines improves upon the former 3x3 engine arrangement The Octaweb is a metal structure that supports eight engines surrounding a center engine at the base of the launch vehicle This structure simplifies the design and assembly of the engine section, streamlining our manufacturing process 
  65. ^ a b c d e "Space Launch report, SpaceX Falcon Data Sheet" Retrieved 2011-07-29 
  66. ^ de Selding, Peter 2014-03-27 "SpaceX Says Requirements, Not Markup, Make Government Missions More Costly" Space News Retrieved 2014-04-03 
  67. ^ Selding, Peter "SES Books SpaceX Falcon 9 for Hybrid Satellite's Debut" Spacenewscom Retrieved November 20, 2014 
  68. ^ "Landing Legs" SpaceX 2013-07-29 Retrieved 2013-07-30 The Falcon 9 first stage carries landing legs that will deploy after stage separation and allow for the rocket's soft return to Earth The four legs are made of state-of-the-art carbon fiber with aluminum honeycomb Placed symmetrically around the base of the rocket, they stow along the side of the vehicle during liftoff and later extend outward and down for landing 
  69. ^ a b c Lindsey, Clark 2013-03-28 "SpaceX moving quickly towards fly-back first stage" NewSpace Watch Retrieved 2013-03-29 subscription required help 
  70. ^ a b Messier, Doug 2013-03-28 "Dragon Post-Mission Press Conference Notes" Parabolic Arc Retrieved 2013-03-30 Q What is strategy on booster recover Musk: Initial recovery test will be a water landing First stage continue in ballistic arc and execute a velocity reduction burn before it enters atmosphere to lessen impact Right before splashdown, will light up the engine again Emphasizes that we don’t expect success in the first several attempts Hopefully next year with more experience and data, we should be able to return the first stage to the launch site and do a propulsion landing on land using legs Q Is there a flight identified for return to launch site of the booster Musk: No Will probably be the middle of next year 
  71. ^ Musk, E March 1, 2015 "Upgrades in the works to allow landing for geo missions: thrust +15%, deep cryo oxygen, upper stage tank vol +10%" Twittercom
  72. ^ a b Mangels, John 2013-05-25 "NASA's Plum Brook Station tests rocket fairing for SpaceX" Cleveland Plain Dealer Retrieved 2013-05-27 
  73. ^ Leone, Dan 1 June 2015 "Beachcomber Finds SpaceX Rocket Wreckage in Bahamas" SpaceNews Retrieved 2 June 2015 
  74. ^ a b c d e "Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Payload User's Guide, Rev 2" PDF 21 October 2015 Retrieved 27 January 2016 
  75. ^ "SpaceX Preparing for Launch of "Significantly Improved" Falcon 9" SpaceNews Dec 15, 2015 Retrieved 12 Jan 2016 
  76. ^ Gwynne Shotwell 2014-03-21 Broadcast 2212: Special Edition, interview with Gwynne Shotwell audio file The Space Show Event occurs at 08:15–11:20 2212 Archived from the original mp3 on 2014-03-22 Retrieved 2014-03-22 "Falcon 9 v11 vehicle has thirty percent more performance than what we put on the web and that extra performance is reserved for us to do our reusability and recoverability tests current vehicle is sized for reuse 
  77. ^ "Musk ambition: SpaceX aim for fully reusable Falcon 9" Jan 12, 2009 Retrieved Jan 13, 2016 
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  79. ^ a b Foust, Jeff 31 August 2015 "SpaceX To Debut Upgraded Falcon 9 on Return to Flight Mission" SpaceNews Retrieved 18 September 2015 
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  83. ^ "Falcon 9 v11" SpaceFlight101 Retrieved 18 September 2015 
  84. ^ elonmusk 1 May 2016 "F9 thrust at liftoff will be raised to 171M lbf later this year It is capable of 19M lbf in flight" Tweet – via Twitter 
  85. ^ Clark, Stephen October 11, 2012 "Orbcomm craft falls to Earth, company claims total loss" Spaceflight Now Retrieved 2014-04-05 
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  89. ^ "Estimating the Reliability of a Soyuz Spacecraft Mission" PDF NASA Figure 2: Historical Rocket Launch Data Soyuz Rocket Family Retrieved May 4, 2015 
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  91. ^ NASA PAO, Hold-Down Arms and Tail Service Masts, Moonport, SP-4204 accessed 26 August 2010
  92. ^ Clark, Stephen 20 December 2014 "Falcon 9 completes full-duration static fire" Spaceflight Now Retrieved 10 May 2015 SpaceX conducts the static fire test — that typically ends with a 35-second engine firing — before every launch to wring out issues with the rocket and ground systems The exercise also helps engineers rehearse for the real launch day 
  93. ^ Behind the Scenes With the World's Most Ambitious Rocket Makers, Popular Mechanics, 2009-09-01, accessed 2012-12-11 "It is the first since the Saturn series from the Apollo program to incorporate engine-out capability—that is, one or more engines can fail and the rocket will still make it to orbit"
  94. ^ "Updates: December 2007" Updates Archive SpaceX Dec 2007 Archived from the original on January 4, 2011 Retrieved 2012-12-27 Once we have all nine engines and the stage working well as a system, we will extensively test the "engine out" capability This includes explosive and fire testing of the barriers that separate the engines from each other and from the vehicle It should be said that the failure modes we’ve seen to date on the test stand for the Merlin 1C are all relatively benign – the turbo pump, combustion chamber and nozzle do not rupture explosively even when subjected to extreme circumstances We have seen the gas generator that drives the turbo pump assembly blow apart during a start sequence there are now checks in place to prevent that from happening, but it is a small device, unlikely to cause major damage to its own engine, let alone the neighboring ones Even so, as with engine nacelles on commercial jets, the fire/explosive barriers will assume that the entire chamber blows apart in the worst possible way The bottom close out panels are designed to direct any force or flame downward, away from neighboring engines and the stage itself we’ve found that the Falcon 9's ability to withstand one or even multiple engine failures, just as commercial airliners do, and still complete its mission is a compelling selling point with customers Apart from the Space Shuttle and Soyuz, none of the existing 2007 launch vehicles can afford to lose even a single thrust chamber without causing loss of mission 
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  97. ^ "Elon Musk says SpaceX will attempt to develop fully reusable space launch vehicle" Washington Post 2011-09-29 Retrieved 2011-10-11 Both of the rocket's stages would return to the launch site and touch down vertically, under rocket power, on landing gear after delivering a spacecraft to orbit 
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  103. ^ "reuse - How does SpaceX plan to achieve reusability of the Falcon 9 second stage - Space Exploration Stack Exchange" stackexchangecom Retrieved January 5, 2016 
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  111. ^ Payer, Markus August 30, 2016 "Leading satellite operator will be world's first company to launch a geostationary satellite on a reusable rocket in Q4 2016" Press release SES SA 
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  122. ^ Foust, Jeff 2011-08-22 "New opportunities for smallsat launches" The Space Review Retrieved 2011-09-27 SpaceX developed prices for flying those secondary payloads A P-POD would cost between $200,000 and $325,000 for missions to LEO, or $350,000 to $575,000 for missions to geosynchronous transfer orbit GTO An ESPA-class satellite weighing up to 180 kilograms would cost $4–5 million for LEO missions and $7–9 million for GTO missions, he said 
  123. ^ "SpaceX on Twitter" Retrieved 2016-09-01 
  124. ^ SpaceX 16 January 2015 "Close, but no cigar This time" Vine Retrieved 8 May 2016 

External linksedit

  • Falcon 9 official page
  • Falcon Heavy official page
  • Test firing of two Merlin 1C engines connected to Falcon 9 first stage, Movie 1, Movie 2 January 18, 2008
  • Press release announcing design September 9, 2005
  • SpaceX hopes to supply ISS with new Falcon 9 heavy launcher Flight International, September 13, 2005
  • SpaceX launches Falcon 9, With A Customer Defense Industry Daily, September 15, 2005

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