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SpaceX Announces the Falcon 9 Fully Reusable Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle



 
 
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Old September 12th 05, 05:21 PM
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Default SpaceX Announces the Falcon 9 Fully Reusable Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle

http://www.spacex.com/index.html?sec...om/press18.php

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Dianne Molina
Marketing Manager, SpaceX

310-414-6555 ext. 283

SPACEX ANNOUNCES THE FALCON 9 FULLY REUSABLE HEAVY LIFT LAUNCH VEHICLE
SpaceX
September 8, 2005

El Segundo, CA - SpaceX today announced its new launch vehicle, the
Falcon 9,
an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) class vehicle. With up to a
17 ft
(5.2 m) diameter fairing, Falcon 9 is capable of launching
approximately
21,000 lbs (9,500 kg) to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in its medium
configuration
and 55,000 lbs (25,000 kg) to LEO in its heavy configuration, a lift
capacity
greater than any other launch vehicle. In the medium configuration,
Falcon 9
is priced at $27 million per flight with a 12 ft (3.6 m) fairing and
$35
million with a 17 ft fairing. Prices include all launch range and third
party
insurance costs, making Falcon 9 the most cost efficient vehicle in its
class
worldwide.

SpaceX initially intended to follow its first vehicle development,
Falcon 1,
with the intermediate class Falcon 5 launch vehicle. However, in
response to
customer requirements for low cost enhanced launch capability, SpaceX
accelerated development of an EELV-class vehicle, upgrading Falcon 5 to

Falcon 9. SpaceX has sold Falcon 9 to a US government customer. SpaceX
still
plans to make Falcon 5 available in late 2007.

Falcon 9 uses similar engines, electronics, guidance & control and
separation
systems to Falcon 1. However, in the case of Falcon 9 there are nine
Merlin
engines clustered together. Some examples of rockets that made
effective use
of clustering are the Saturn I manned rocket (eight thrust chambers) of
the
Apollo Program and the Soyuz manned rocket (thirty-two thrust chambers)

currently used to service the International Space Station. Clustering
provides the ability to lose multiple engines during flight and still
complete the mission, resulting in a higher level of propulsion
reliability.

A recent study performed by the Futron Corporation, concluded that
Falcon 5
was superior in design reliability to other vehicles in its class, due
to
engine redundancy. Falcon 9, by extension, has even higher reliability
with
increased propulsion redundancy.

Falcon 5 and Falcon 9 will be the world's first launch vehicles where
all
stages are designed for reuse. The Falcon 1 has a reusable first stage,
but
an expendable upper stage. Reuse is not factored into launch prices.
When
the economics of stage recovery and checkout are fully understood,
SpaceX
will make further reductions in launch prices.

SpaceX has launch sites at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral
Air
Force Station and the Marshall Islands, allowing for direct launch into
any
orbital inclination. With its launch complex in the Marshall Islands,
SpaceX
is the only US heavy launch provider with a launch site close to the
equator,
providing an advantage for equatorial satellite launch.

About SpaceX

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to increase
the
reliability and reduce the cost of access to space by a factor of ten.
The
maiden launch for Falcon I is scheduled for fall of this year from the
SpaceX
island launch complex in the Kwajalein Atoll. The customers for this
mission
are DARPA and the US Air Force. The payload will be FalconSat-2, part
of the
Air Force Academy's satellite program that will measure space plasma
phenomena.
The second mission, carrying TacSat-1 for the Naval Research
Laboratory, will
follow the last Titan IV launch from VAFB.

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