Falcon 9 Overview Updated January 27, 2021

Falcon 9

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

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33 'Falcon 9' stories

February 2020 - January 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.


Falcon 9 Stories January 27

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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Falcon 9 Stories January 26

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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Falcon 9 Stories January 20

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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Falcon 9 Stories January 4

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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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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Falcon 9 Stories December 21, 2020

Launch of the Apollo 8 mission (December 21, 1968)

On the morning of December 21, 1968, a 36-story-tall Saturn V rocket towered over Cape Kennedy, now known as Cape Canaveral. Thousands of onlookers gathered to view the historic event on the nearby beaches. Sitting atop the lumbering Saturn V was the Apollo 8 spacecraft, ready to carry the first humans around the moon.

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Falcon 9 Stories December 18, 2020

After the launch of SpaceX’s second 7th-time-flown booster and a seemingly perfect landing, the booster returned to Port Canaveral yesterday looking well scorched (as expected) and leaning (not exactly expected). This is the second booster that has seemed to have a rougher than normal return from its landing zone in recent weeks.

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Falcon 9 Stories December 16, 2020

SpaceX was met with disbelief in 2011 when they announced plans to vertically land Falcon 9 rocket boosters. This was largely thought to be impossible, and some industry titans bet SpaceX wouldn’t achieve it. Almost a decade later, SpaceX still amazes us with their rocket booster landings.

The most crowd pleasing and recently less common are Return To Launch/Landing Site (RTLS) landings, and the next is set to happen tomorrow. SpaceX is positioned to complete the next Falcon 9 first stage booster RTLS landing on December 17 as part of the NROL-108 mission.

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Falcon 9 Stories December 9, 2020

After a successful launch on Sunday, the booster that lofted the new cargo Dragon capsule to the International Space Station returned to Port Canaveral this morning.

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Falcon 9 Stories December 7, 2020

After the launch of SpaceX’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station, SpaceX published a unique point-of-view of the rocket launch being tracked on video from mid-air in a helicopter.

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