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Falcon 9
Part of Falcon Family
Falcon 9
Falcon 9
Credit: NASA
American low cost orbital launch vehicle. In September 2006 SpaceX was named as one of two winners of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition. The SpaceX award was $278 million for three flight demonstrations of the Falcon 9 booster carrying the Dragon space capsule. On 23 December 2008 NASA announced that the Falcon 9 / Dragon had been selected for launch of a guaranteed minimum of 20,000 kg of payload to the International Space Station in 2010-2014. The firm contract was worth $1.6 billion, with another $1.5 billion of options.

Status: Active. First Launch: 2010-06-04. Last Launch: 2014-08-05. Number: 11 . Payload: 10,450 kg (23,030 lb). Thrust: 5,560.00 kN (1,249,930 lbf). Gross mass: 333,400 kg (735,000 lb). Height: 55.00 m (180.00 ft). Diameter: 3.60 m (11.80 ft). Span: 3.60 m (11.80 ft). Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

Reliability of the Falcon 9 was assured by a hold-before-release system the Falcon was held down and could not be released for flight until all propulsion and vehicle systems were confirmed to be operating normally. An automatic safe shut-down and unloading of propellant occurred if any off nominal conditions are detected. A Kevlar shield protects each engine from debris in the event of its neighbor failing. All Falcon designs had only two stages and only one stage separation event the minimum practical. All stage separation bolts were all dual initiated, fully space qualified, and had a zero failure track record in prior launch vehicles. Guidance was by triple redundant flight computers and inertial navigation, with a GPS overlay for additional orbit insertion accuracy. The engines, structural materials and design principles, avionics and launch system were all to have been proven on earlier Falcon 1 flights before the first Falcon 9 was ever launched.

The Falcon 9 first and second stage tank walls and domes were made from aluminum 2219, using all friction stir welding. The interstage was made of a carbon fiber honeycomb structure. The separation system consisted of pyrotechnic release bolts and pneumatic separation pushers. Although in-flight failures are very rarely explosive, a Kevlar shield protects each engine from debris in the event of its neighbor failing.

LEO Payload: 10,450 kg (23,030 lb) to a 200 km orbit at 28.00 degrees. Payload: 4,540 kg (10,000 lb) to a GTO, 28 deg. Development Cost $: 378.000 million. Launch Price $: 36.750 million in 2008 dollars in 2008 dollars. Boost Propulsion: Lox/Kerosene. Cruise Thrust: 66.600 kN (14,972 lbf). Cruise Thrust: 6,800 kgf. Cruise engine: Kestrel. Initial Operational Capability: 2009.


More at: Falcon 9.

Family: LCLVs, low cost, orbital launch vehicle. Country: USA. Spacecraft: CUSat, DANDE, DSCOVR, MAC-200, Orbital star, SN-100, FS-1300, Star bus, Celestis, HS 702, Cubesat, Spacebus 4000, Dragon. Launch Sites: Vandenberg SLC4E, Cape Canaveral LC40. Agency: SES, SpaceX.

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