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Falcon 9 is a partially reusable medium lift launch vehicle that can carry cargo and crew into Earth orbit, produced by American aerospace company SpaceX.

Quick facts: Function, Manufacturer, Country of origin, Co...
Falcon 9
A Falcon 9 lifting off from LC-39A, carrying Demo-2
FunctionOrbital launch vehicle
ManufacturerSpaceX
Country of originUnited States
Cost per launch
  • New: US$67 million (2022)[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
    16.7 t (37,000 lb)[6] 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[7]
  • 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[8]
  • FT Block 4: Retired
  • FT Block 3: Retired
  • v1.1: Retired
  • v1.0: Retired
Launch sites
Total launches
  • 187
    • FT: 167
    • v1.1: 15
    • v1.0: 5
Success(es)
  • 185
    • FT: 167
    • v1.1: 14
    • v1.0: 4
Failure(s)1
(v1.1: CRS-7 in-flight)
Partial failure(s)1 (v1.0: CRS-1)[9]
Notable outcome(s)1 (FT: AMOS-6 pre-flight destruction)
Landings144 / 153 attempts
First flight
Last flight
First stage
Powered by
Maximum thrust
  • FT (late 2016): 7.6 MN (770 tf; 1,700,000 lbf)[13]
  • 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)[14]
    • Vacuum: 311 s (3.05 km/s)[14]
  • 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)[15]
Burn time
  • FT: 397 seconds[3]
  • v1.1: 375 seconds[4]
  • v1.0: 345 seconds[5]
PropellantLOX / RP-1
Close

The rocket has two stages. The first (booster) stage carries the second stage and payload to a certain altitude, after which the second stage lifts the payload to its ultimate destination. The rocket evolved through several versions. V1.0 flew from 2010–2013, V1.1 flew from 2013–2016, while V1.2 Full Thrust first launched in 2015, encompassing the Block 5 variant, flying since May 2018.

The booster is capable of landing vertically to facilitate reuse. This feat was first achieved on flight 20 in December 2015. Since then, SpaceX has successfully landed boosters over 100 times.[16] Individual boosters have flown as many as fourteen flights.[17] Both stages are powered by SpaceX Merlin engines, using cryogenic liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) as propellants.[18][19]

The heaviest payloads flown to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) were Intelsat 35e carrying 6,761 kg (14,905 lb), and Telstar 19V with 7,075 kg (15,598 lb). The former was launched into an advantageous super-synchronous transfer orbit,[20] while the latter went into a lower-energy GTO, with an apogee well below the geostationary altitude.[21]

Falcon 9 is human-rated for transporting NASA astronauts to the ISS. Falcon 9 is 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]

The first mission launched on 8 October 2012.[24]

As of January 2021, Falcon 9 had the most launches among U.S. rockets. It is the only U.S. rocket certified for transporting humans to the International Space Station.[25][26][27] It is the only commercial rocket to ever launch humans to orbit.[28] On 24 January 2021, Falcon 9 set a record for the most satellites launched by a single rocket, carrying 143 into orbit.[29]