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Falcon Heavy reusable side boosters land in unison at Cape Canaveral Landing Zones 1 and 2 following test flight on 6 February 2018.

Falcon Heavy: Magnificient Engineering

Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb) Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy. Falcon Heavy is composed of three Falcon […]

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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 […]
Figure 4. Single Merlin engine under test conditions

Merlin Engines powering Falcon 9

Falcon 9 is powered by Merlin engine. It has the highest thrust to weight ratio of any boost engine ever made, while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts. Merlin engines use RP-1 and liquid oxygen as rocket propellants in a gas-generator power cycle. The Merlin engine was originally designed […]
A screenshot from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope depicting the Millennium Falcon

Falcon 9: Naming

Falcon 9 and the smaller Falcon 1 rockets — are named after the fictional “Millennium Falcon” spaceship from the “Star Wars” movies. The number 9 in Falcon “9” indicates the number of Merlin engines in the first stage of Falcon 9 rocket as depicted in next image. Elon Musk has publicly stated his love for […]

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