Falcon 9 Overview Updated April 3, 2021

Falcon 9

The world's first orbital class rocket capable of re-flight

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38 'Falcon 9' stories

February 2020 - April 2021

Falcon 9 is a reusable, two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX. It is the world’s very first orbital-class reusable rocket. This reusability allows SpaceX to offer much lower-cost options to companies wanting to gain access to space.

The Falcon 9 rocket stands at 229.6 feet tall and has a mass of 1.2 million pounds. Its first stage is powered by nine Merlin engines that generate 1.3 million pounds of thrust at sea level, rising to 1.5 million pounds of thrust once the rocket reaches the vacuum of space.

Falcon 9 can carry payloads of up to 50,300 pounds to low-Earth orbit and payloads of up to 18,300 pounds to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). At the time of writing this (1/10/2021), 103 Falcon 9 launches have occurred.


Debris from SpaceX Falcon 9 that reentered over US Northwest finds it way to the surface

Last week part of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket deorbited over the US states of Oregon and Washington. While most of the second stage of the rocket burned up as it flew through the atmosphere at orbital velocities. An internal tank made it to the ground.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 second stage lights up night sky during reentry [Video]

Early last night, those in the Pacific North West were treated to a shocking display of lights across the sky. At about 9pm PT (12am ET) the Falcon 9 second stage from March 4th’s Starlink mission reentered in a fiery cascade of lights.

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[Update: Launch Video] SpaceX to send up 23rd batch of Starlink internet satellites

After a week-long hiatus of launches, SpaceX is planning to launch another batch of 60 satellites for their Starlink internet constellation. This will use up to 12,000 satellites to provide high-speed internet service around the globe with zero interruption. If launched by the end of the month, this will tie SpaceX’s record of 4 launches in a single calendar month.

Date: Wednesday, March 24th, 4:28 AM EDT

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HoppAR brings close-up virtual rocket launch viewing to iPhone and Android

HoppAR was developed by Josef Grunig, a freelance developer and passionate space fan. The app was his passion project during quarantine and a gift to all fans of space exploration. Free to download on both iOS and Android, this is as close as you can get to viewing a launch in person without actually being there — you can also get far closer than you ever could to a real thing.

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Why doesn’t SpaceX use parachutes on Falcon 9?

This is a commonly asked question about SpaceX Booster Recovery. Why would SpaceX waste fuel igniting the engines and trying to land vertically rather than using parachutes like the Space Shuttle SRB’s did? There are a number of reasons a propulsively landing system is ideal, but they all tie back to SpaceX’s goal of rapid reusability.

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SpaceX brings home ‘NASA’ Falcon 9 booster from Transporter-1 mission after moving life leader back to base [Gallery]

Port Canaveral in Florida is the homeport for cruise ships, fishing vessels, the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy, and yes, SpaceX’s rocket recovery efforts. On Tuesday, SpaceX brought in a special Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster to the port after a quick return from flight. Teams also moved out SpaceX’s life leading booster from the docks and back into Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to get ready for its next flight.

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SpaceX makes satellite launch history and brings back life leading booster on same day

SpaceX has been serious going into 2021 about doubling their launch count from last year. With already three launches since the start of the year, two of these three mark historic firsts for SpaceX and the industry. Sunday was a busy day in Cape Canaveral with both a record-breaking launch and a milestone booster return.

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SpaceX breaks Falcon 9 booster re-use record with 8th launch and landing on Starlink mission [Gallery]

SpaceX successfully launched its latest Starlink mission today while setting a new record for reusing a Falcon 9 first stage booster. Starlink is SpaceX’s growing satellite internet service, and SpaceX uses these missions to deploy up to 60 of its own satellites into orbit as test beds for pushing booster re-flight records.

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SpaceX chief operating officer discusses her job and the future of Starship in new interview

SpaceX was in the news a lot this year as it achieved many of its extraordinary goals, including 26 launches and becoming the single largest satellite operator in the world. Gwynne Shotwell, chief operating officer at SpaceX, spoke on some of these successes in a new interview with Ars Technica today.

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First SpaceX Falcon 9 mission of 2021 targeting mid-week launch

SpaceX is positioned to conduct its first mission in 2021 with a Falcon 9 rocket as early as this week. Originally expected to target today, the 45th Weather Squadron has published a Launch Mission Execution Forecast for the Falcon 9 TurkSat-5A mission.

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