SpaceX mainly Space Exploration Technologies corp. is an American based aerospace manufacturer and space transportation service company. Elon Musk found its third company known as SpaceX in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. By 2008, SpaceX was a well-established company and was awarded by Nasa with the contract to handle the cargo transportation for the International Space Station and have planed for the transportation of astronauts to the ISS.
Achievements of SpaceX include:
• The first privately funded liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 flight 4 on September 28, 2008)
• The first privately developed liquid-fueled rocket to put a commercial satellite in orbit (RazakSAT on Falcon 1 flight 5 on July 14, 2009)
• The first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft (SpaceX Dragon on COTS Demo Flight 1 on December 9, 2010)
• The first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Dragon C2+ on May 25, 2012)
• The first private company to send a satellite into geosynchronous orbit (SES-8 on Falcon 9 flight 7 on December 3, 2013)
• The first landing of an orbital rocket’s first stage on land (Falcon 9 flight 20 on December 22, 2015)
• The first landing of an orbital rocket’s first stage on an ocean platform (Falcon 9 flight 23 on April 8, 2016)
• The first relaunch and landing of a used orbital rocket stage (B1021 on Falcon 9 flight 32 on March 30, 2017)
• The first controlled flyback and recovery of a payload fairing (Falcon 9 flight 32 on March 30, 2017)
• The first re-flight of a commercial cargo spacecraft. (Dragon C106 on CRS-11 mission on June 3, 2017)
• The first private company to send an object into heliocentric orbit (Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster on Falcon Heavy test flight on February 6, 2018)
• The first private company to send a human-rated spacecraft to space (Crew Dragon Demo-1, on Falcon 9 flight 69 on March 2, 2019)
• The first private company to autonomously dock a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Crew Dragon Demo-1, on Falcon 9 flight 69 on March 3, 2019)
• The first use of a full-flow staged combustion cycle engine (Raptor) in a free-flying vehicle (Starhopper, multiple tests in 2019).
• The first reuse of payload fairing (Starlink 1 Falcon 9 launch on November 11, 2019). The fairing was from the ArabSat-6A mission in April earlier that year.
• The first private company to send humans into orbit (Crew Dragon Demo-2 on May 30, 2020).
• The first private company to send humans to the International Space Station (Crew Dragon Demo-2 on May 31, 2020).
Elon Musk stated that SpaceX launch vehicles such as Falcon 1, 9, heavy name are based on Millenium Falcon from the Starwars film series.
SpaceX launch vehicles
Falcon 1 was an expendable launch system privately developed and manufactured by SpaceX during 2006-2009. It is a two-stage launch vehicle capable of putting a metric ton (1000 kg) into low Earth orbit. Falcon 1 uses a single Merlin, a SpaceX-developed, LOX-kerosene rocket engine producing ~570,000 newtons of thrust (for comparison, a single Shuttle main engine burns LOX-hydrogen fuel and produces about 2,300,000 newtons of thrust). The Falcon 1 was designed to put relatively small satellites into low earth orbit. With such payload capacity, it is also capable of sending 100-200 kg microsats beyond LEO, into cislunar space.
. The first launch failed after 25 seconds of flight. The second flight successfully launched and staged, but did not reach orbit. After the third attempt at flight failed during staging, a review board looked in detail at SpaceX’s launch processing stream and made recommendations for some significant changes. The next launch was successful in putting a dummy payload into orbit. In July 2009, six years after Falcon 1 development had begun, SpaceX achieved its first (and so far, only) commercial space success with the launch and orbit of the Malaysian RazakSAT imaging satellite on a Falcon 1 launch.
On 28 Sept 2008 Falcon 1 becomes the first privately-developed liquid-fuel launch vehicle to go into orbit around the earth. Falcon 1 launch is no longer available for purchase. Instead, small, one-ton class payloads will be accommodated in the future through “piggyback” rides on the new, Falcon 9 medium-class launch vehicle. customers in need of low-cost options for launching small payloads are out of luck. Falcon 9 has yet to launch an ounce of commercial payload and Falcon 1 is not for sale.
Falcon 1e was the proposed upgraded version of SpaceX Falcon 1. It was to be 6.1 m (20 ft) longer than the Falcon 1, with an overall length of 27.4 m, but with the same 1.68 m diameter. Its first stage had a dry mass of 2,580 kg and was powered by an upgraded pump-fed Merlin 1C engine burning 39,000 kg of RP-1 and liquid oxygen. The first stage burn time was around 169 seconds. The second stage had a dry mass of 540 kg and its pressure-fed Kestrel 2 engine burned 4,000 kg of propellant. The restartable Kestrel 2 could burn for up to a total of 418 seconds.
The Falcon 5 was a proposed two-stage-to-orbit partially reusable launch vehicle designed by SpaceX. Generally, The first stage of Falcon 5 was to be powered by five Merlin engines and the upper stage by one Merlin engine, both burning RP-1 with a liquid oxygen oxidizer. Along with the Falcon 9, it would have been the world’s only launch vehicle with its first stage designed for reuse.
By the way, It is build in such way that with the loss of one engine, it can still meet mission requirements by burning the other four engines longer to achieve the correct orbit and falcon 5 would have been the first American rocket since the Saturn V to have full engine out capability.
since, it has been canceled in preference of the larger, more powerful Falcon 9.
Falcon 9 includes two variants that Falcon 9 v1.0 and Falcon 9 v1.1. Falcon 9 v1.0 made five flights in 2010-2013, then it was retired.
Falcon 9 v1.1 was the second version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 orbital launch vehicle. The rocket was developed in 2011–2013, made its maiden launch in September 2013, and its final flight in January 2016. The Falcon 9 rocket was fully designed, manufactured, and operated by SpaceX. Following the second Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) launch, the initial version Falcon 9 v1.0 was retired from use and replaced by the v1.1 version.
The Falcon 9 v1.1 ELV was a 60 percent heavier rocket with 60 percent more thrust than the v1.0 version of the Falcon 9. It includes realigned first-stage engines and 60 percent longer fuel tanks, making it more susceptible to bending during flight. The engines were upgraded from the Merlin 1C to the more powerful Merlin 1D engines. These improvements increased the payload capability to LEO from 10,454 kilograms (23,047 lb) to 13,150 kilograms (28,990 lb). The stage separation system was redesigned and reduced the number of attachment points from twelve to three, and the vehicle had upgraded avionics and software as well.
The v1.1 first stage has a total sea-level thrust at liftoff of 5,885 kN (1,323,000 pounds-force), with the nine engines burning for a nominal 180 seconds, while stage thrust rises to 6,672 kN (1,500,000 pounds-force) as the booster climbs out of the atmosphere. The nine first-stage engines are arranged in a structural form SpaceX calls Octaweb. This change from the v1.0 Falcon 9’s square arrangement is aimed at streamlining the manufacturing process. The main propellant supply tubes from the RP-1 and liquid oxygen tanks to the nine engines on the first stage are 10 cm (4 in) in diameter.
The interstage, which connects the upper and lower stage for Falcon 9, is a carbon fiber aluminum core composite structure. Separation collets and a pneumatic pusher system separate the stages. The Falcon 9 tank walls and domes are made from aluminum-lithium alloy. SpaceX uses an all-friction stir welded tank, a technique that minimizes manufacturing defects and reduces cost, according to a NASA spokesperson. The second-stage tank of Falcon 9 is simply a shorter version of the first-stage tank and uses most of the same tooling, material, and manufacturing techniques. This saves money during vehicle production.
Falcon 9 Full Thrust
Falcon 9 full thrust is the upgraded version of Falcon 9 v1.1. In the first stage, in Falcon 9 full thrust the first upgrade was with a larger liquid oxygen tank, loaded with a subcooled propellant that allows large mass fuel in the same tank volume. Similarly, In the second stage also volume capacity of the tank has been increased. These upgrades bring a 33% increase in the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket. It was first used on 22 December 2015 for the ORBCOMM-2 launch and is still now active.
- liquid oxygen subcooled to 66.5 K (−206.7 °C; 119.7 °R; −340.0 °F) and RP-1 cooled to 266.5 K (−6.6 °C; 479.7 °R; 20.0 °F) for density (allowing more fuel and oxidizer to be stored in a given tank volume, as well as increasing the propellant mass flow through the turbopumps increasing thrust).
- upgraded structure in the first stage.
- longer second stage propellant tanks.
- longer and stronger interstage, housing the second stage engine nozzle, grid fins, and attitude thrusters.
- center pusher added for stage separation.
- the design evolution of the grid fins.
- modified Octaweb.
- upgraded landing legs.
- Merlin 1D engine thrust increased to the full-thrust variant of the Merlin 1D, taking advantage of the denser propellants achieved by subcooling.
- Merlin 1D vacuum thrust increased by subcooling the propellants.
- several small mass-reduction efforts.
Falcon Heavy is a super heavy-lift space launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX. The Falcon Heavy is a variant of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle comprising three Falcon 9 first stages: a reinforced center core, and two additional side boosters. All three boosters are designed to be recovered and reused. The side boosters assigned to Falcon Heavy’s first flight were recovered from two prior Falcon 9 missions. SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy on February 6, 2018, delivering a payload comprising Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster onto a trajectory reaching the orbit of Mars.
The Falcon Heavy has a total sea-level thrust at liftoff of 22,819 kN, from the 27 Merlin 1D engines, while thrust rises to 24,681 kN as the craft climbs out of the atmosphere. The upper stage is powered by a single Merlin 1D engine modified for vacuum operation, with a thrust of 934 kN, an expansion ratio of 117:1, and a nominal burn time of 397 seconds. At launch, the center core throttles to full power for a few seconds for additional thrust, then throttles down. This allows a longer burn time.
Falcon Heavy was originally designed with a unique “propellant crossfeed” capability, whereby the center core engines would be supplied with fuel and oxidizer from the two side cores until their separation. Operating all engines at full thrust from launch, with fuel supplied mainly from the side boosters, would deplete the side boosters sooner, allowing their earlier separation to reduce the mass being accelerated. This would leave most of the center core propellant available after booster separation.
Grasshopper is an experimental rocket manufactured by SpaceX for suborbital RLV(reusable launch vehicle) and VTVL (vertical takeoff and vertical landing).
The Grasshopper began flight testing in September 2012 with a brief, three-second hop. It was followed by a second hop in November 2012, which consisted of an 8-second flight that took the testbed approximately 5.4 m off the ground. Likewise, the third flight occurred in December 2012 of 29 seconds duration, with extended hover under rocket engine power, in which it ascended to an altitude of 40 m before descending under rocket power to come to a successful vertical landing. Finally, Grasshopper made its eighth and final test flight on October 7, 2013, flying to an altitude of 744 m (2,441 ft; 0.462 mi) before making its eighth successful vertical landing. Afterward, the Grasshopper test vehicle was now retired.