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  Falcon 9.jpg

Falcon 9

FALCON 9 Fact Sheet

Written and Edited by Cliff Lethbridge

Classification: Space Launch Vehicle

Length: 180 feet

Diameter: 12 feet

Date of First Cape Canaveral Launch: June 4, 2010

Date of Final Cape Canaveral Launch: Active

Falcon 9 is a two-stage, liquid oxygen and RP-1 (kerosene) powered rocket manufactured by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SPACEX).

The Falcon 9 first stage is powered by nine Merlin engines, each capable of producing a thrust of 125,000 pounds. This combination provides a total liftoff thrust of about 1.1 million pounds.

The Falcon 9 second stage is powered by a single Merlin engine, capable of producing a thrust of 125,000 pounds. The Falcon 9 is capable of carrying a 23,050-pound payload to Low Earth Orbit, or a 10,000-pound payload to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.

Of particular importance to NASA is the SPACEX-designed and built Dragon space capsule, which is intended to carry supplies and possibly astronauts to the International Space Station.

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Falcon 9 Version 1.1

Length: 224.4 Feet

Diameter: 12 Feet

In 2013, SPACEX introduced an improved version of the Falcon 9 designated Falcon 9 Version 1.1 which vastly improved performance over the Falcon 9 as initially introduced. Among other improvements, Falcon 9 Version 1.1 features improved Merlin engines, stretched fuel tanks and the ability to carry either a Dragon capsule or composite payload fairing.

The Falcon 9 Version 1.1 first stage burns liquid oxygen and RP-1 liquid fuel and is comprised of nine Merlin engines. Total thrust at liftoff is approximately 1.323 million pounds. The first stage burns for about 180 seconds after launch. The entire first stage array is designed to be recovered at sea, refurbished and re-flown. This is the first rocket flown with a recoverable first stage. The Falcon 9 Version 1.1 second stage is comprised of a single Merlin engine capable of producing a thrust of 180,000 pounds. The second stage burns for about 375 seconds after ignition and can be restarted multiple times as needed.

The rocket can carry either a Dragon capsule or composite payload fairing. The pressurized Dragon capsule measures 23.6 feet high by 12 feet wide and is designed to carry cargo and eventually astronauts to the International Space Station. The composite payload fairing measures 43 feet high by 17.1 feet wide. The rocket can carry a maximum 28,991-pound payload to low-Earth orbit or a maximum 10,692-pound payload to geosynchronous transfer orbit.

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