So I’m an aero geek; always have been, always will be. But with SpaceX’s latest big update, I have to say that I absolutely can’t wait to see the first Falcon9 launch.
For background, Falcon 9 can lift just over 10,000kg to Low Earth Orbit. The future Falcon 9 Heavy (which is the standard Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 1st stages bolted on for a total of 27 engines at the start) will be able to lift 29,610kg to Low Earth Orbit!
To put that in relative terms, here is what other rockets/systems can lift to LEO:
- Apollo: 118,000kg
- Space Shuttle: 24,400kg
- Delta IV Heavy: 22,950kg
In other words, this small, entrepreneurial rocket company that was founded less than ten years ago is building some of the biggest rockets around.
But enough of that… let’s get to the pictures! (Which are all from the SpaceX updates page here.)
The nine engines of the Falcon 9 first stage:
The assembled Falcon 9 first stage engines & thrust assembly (at 17,000lbs this is over half the weight of the unfueled rocket):
The first stage engines getting ready for shipping:
The Dragon capsule, which sits at the top of the rocket for Space Station resupply missions:
The full rocket, on the launch platform at Cape Canaveral: