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A half a million pounds of thrust…

On May 29th, SpaceX tested the Falcon 9 first stage in its Macgregor Texas test stand with
five engines.

Rather impressive, n’est-ce pas?

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9 comments to A half a million pounds of thrust…

  • I’d say ‘Cool’ but somehow that does not quite fit.

  • It’s Shiny, Taylor, Bright and Shiny!(been watching Firefly again)

  • Or the crew has been ready Sluggy Freelance.

  • Or the crew has been reading Sluggy Freelance.

  • Papa Ray

    I wonder how much that array cost. I mean every single dollar. Then I would like to know what NASA spent on developing the engines for the Shuttle.

    I’m going to wager that NASA spent ten to twenty times what SpaceX did.

    Not to say they are compatiable or even can be compared. But the Billions spent over the years by NASA, years and years of money down the money pit, sometimes disgusts me when I look at what the end result is.

    And they are not going to build on that, but discard it and go back to pre-shuttle design.

    Makes you wonder, who will explore space, the government or private space explorers. And who will be the best at it.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas
    USA

  • Slartibartfast

    “I’m going to wager that NASA spent ten to twenty times what SpaceX did.”

    And I’d wager that SpaceX would have to spend a great deal more than they have, if outfits like NASA hadn’t spent a lot of money making mistakes.

    I have kind of an innate distrust of projects whose numbers are wildly disjoint from those of similar projects. The Falcon 9 uses 9 Merlin engines with a sea-level combined thrust of about a million pounds, which means the whole shebang has to weigh rather less than that. And it claims to put 716,000 lbs into LEO. Those data together mean a payload ratio of 0.7 or better, which is…an order of magnitude better than anything else out there, as far as I can tell.

    At its burn rate, that weight difference accounts for only about 65 seconds of first-stage burn, which doesn’t get you anywhere near LEO. Either some of their numbers don’t go with the others, or physics has changed since I was into rocketry. Or, possibly, I’ve screwed something up bigtime.

  • Larry J

    I have kind of an innate distrust of projects whose numbers are wildly disjoint from those of similar projects. The Falcon 9 uses 9 Merlin engines with a sea-level combined thrust of about a million pounds, which means the whole shebang has to weigh rather less than that. And it claims to put 716,000 lbs into LEO. Those data together mean a payload ratio of 0.7 or better, which is…an order of magnitude better than anything else out there, as far as I can tell.

    I don’t know where you got your numbers, but from the SpaceX website on the Falcon 9:

    Launch Site: Cape Canaveral AFS
    Inclination: 28.5 degree
    LEO Mass to Orbit (200 km circular): 11,290 kg
    GTO Mass to Orbit (185 x 35,788 km): 4,640 kg

    Your number of 716,000 pounds to orbit is plainly absurd.

  • Slartibartfast

    Larry:

    Your number of 716,000 pounds to orbit is plainly absurd.

    Plainly, but it’s not my number.

    From SpaceX’s Falcon 8 webpage:

    Falcon 9 Overview
    ——————————————————————————–

    The Falcon launch vehicle family is designed to provide breakthrough advances in reliability, cost, flight environment and time to launch. The primary design driver is and will remain reliability, as described in more detail below. We recognize that nothing is more important than getting our customer’s spacecraft safely to its intended destination.

    Like Falcon 1, Falcon 9 is a two stage, liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene (RP-1) powered launch vehicle. It uses the same engines, structural architecture (with a wider diameter), avionics and launch system.

    Length: 54.9 m (180 ft)
    Width: 3.6 m (12 ft)
    Mass (LEO, 5.2m fairing): 325,000 kg (716 klb)
    Mass (GTO, 5.2m fairing): 323,000 kg (713 klb)
    Thrust (vacuum): 5.56 MN (1.25 M lb)
    Data reflects the Falcon 9 Block 2 design.

  • Slartibartfast

    Probably that’s launch mass, but it doesn’t say that.