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

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 of space access.

A Falcon 9 v1.0 being launched with a Dragon spacecraft to deliver cargo to the ISS in 2012.
A Falcon 9 v1.0 being launched with a Dragon spacecraft to deliver cargo to the ISS in 2012. Photo credits: SpaceX

Facts about Falcon 9

  • As of January 2021, Falcon 9 has the most launches among all U.S. rockets currently in operation.
  • It is currently the only U.S. rocket fully certified for transporting humans to the International Space Station.
  • On 24 January 2021, Falcon 9 set a new record for the most satellites launched by a single rocket carrying 143 satellites into orbit. The heaviest GTO payloads flown have been Intelsat 35e with 6,761 kg, and Telstar 19V with 7,075 kg.
  • Based on the Lewis point estimate of reliability, the Falcon 9 Full Thrust is the most reliable orbital launch vehicle among all orbital rockets currently in operation.
  • Falcon 9 has triple-redundant flight computers and inertial navigation, with a GPS overlay for additional orbit insertion accuracy.
  • Falcon family core boosters have successfully landed 89 times in 100 attempts. A total of 28 boosters have flown multiple missions, with a record of ten missions by the same booster.

Watch the Falcon 9 ORBCOMM-2 Mission, for the first orbital rocket’s first stage landing.

Leave a Reply