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Falcon 9 rocket family; from left to right: Falcon 9 v1.0, v1.1, Full Thrust, Block 5, and Falcon Heavy.

Falcon 9: The most loved rocket

Falcon 9 is a reusable, two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of people and payloads into Earth orbit and beyond. Falcon 9 is the world’s first orbital-class reusable rocket. Reusability allows SpaceX to refly the most expensive parts of the rocket, which in turn drives down the cost […]
Launch of a Falcon 1 rocket from the SpaceX launch site on Kwajalein Atoll, September 28, 2008. Chris Thompson/SpaceX

Falcon 1: Start of an era!

Falcon 1 was the first rocket developed by SpaceX. It is a two-stage launch vehicle capable of putting a metric ton (1000 kg) into low Earth orbit. Falcon 1 uses a single Merlin, a SpaceX-developed, LOX-kerosene rocket engine producing ~570,000 newtons of thrust (for comparison, a single Shuttle main engine burns LOX-hydrogen fuel and produces […]
Of Course I Still Love You, (OCISLY)

Autonomous Spacecraft Drone Ship (ASDS)

Autonomous Spacecraft Drone Ship (ASDS) are ocean-going vessels derived from a deck barge, equipped with station-keeping engines and a large landing platform controlled by an autonomous robot. This allows for the recovery of the launch vehicle’s first stages at sea for missions that do not carry enough fuel to return to the launch site after […]
Depiction of Falcon 9 landing trajectory in floating-platform recovery tests

Re-entry Burns of Falcon 9

Falcon 9’s first stage recovery is a beautiful maneuver in itself. Requiring three precisely timed re-entry burns to orient, control, stabilize and land the rocket successfully with precision. Please refer to the above (beautiful) illustration to understand the Falcon 9 recovery process. Immediately after stage separation, the Falcon 9’s first stage or booster goes through, […]
SLC-40 during launch of SpaceX CRS-13 in December 2017, after repair and upgrade works to the pad between 2016–2017

Falcon 9 Launch Pads

Currently, SpaceX utilises 4 launch pads for their orbital rocket launches and two suborbital test launch facilities as well. SpaceX South Texas / Boca Chica launch site This site is also referred as “Starbase” by SpaceX. It is SpaceX’s fourth active launch facility, and its first private facility. Initially the plan was to use this […]
Fairings recovery. Credits: SpaceX

Payload Fairings

The payload fairing is the equipment used to protect the spacecraft and the third stage during the early portion of the boost phase when the aerodynamic forces from the atmosphere could affect the rocket. It is almost always in form of the nose cone at the top of the rocket that protects the spacecraft payload […]
Crew Dragon approaching the ISS in March 2019, during Demo-1

Dragon Spacecraft

The Dragon spacecraft or capsule, also known as the pressurized section, allows for the transport of people as well as environmentally sensitive cargo. The Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying up to 7 passengers to and from Earth orbit, and beyond. It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts […]
Grid fins located near the top of first stage of Falcon 9 rocket

Grid Fins: The Wings for Re-entry!

The Falcon 9’s first stage is equipped with hypersonic grid fins, and not planar fins, as shown in the diagram below. Grid fins are used during the re-entry and landing of the first stage of Falcon 9 rocket. It helps in guiding the first stage return back to the ground location after accomplishing primary mission […]
Engines are placed at offset. The smaller black holes is for the gas generator exhaust.

Octaweb Structure

Merlin engines are arranged in an Octaweb Structure. ‘Octa’ means eight and ‘web’ structure as it depicts radiating lines from center. The Octaweb is a metal structure that supports eight engines surrounding a center engine at the base of the launch vehicle.  What is its purpose? The short answer is: stability. The Octaweb also reduces […]

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