Falcon 1e

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Falcon 1e
Function Small partially reusable launch system
Manufacturer SpaceX
Country of origin  United States
Cost per launch (2010) US$10.9M
Height 24.7 metres (81 ft)
Diameter 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in)
Mass 46,760 kilograms (103,090 lb)
Stages Two
Payload to
185 km LEO
1,010 kilograms (2,230 lb)
Associated rockets
Family Falcon
Launch history
Status On Hold
Launch sites Omelek Island
First flight NET 2011
Notable payloads O2G
First Stage
Engines One Merlin 1C
Thrust 569 kilonewtons (128,000 lbf)
Specific impulse 304 sec
Burn time 196 seconds
Fuel RP-1/LOX
Second Stage
Engines One Kestrel 2[1]
Thrust 27.8 kilonewtons (6,200 lbf)
Specific impulse 325 sec
Burn time 418 seconds
Fuel RP-1/LOX

The Falcon 1e is an American launch vehicle which is an upgraded version of the SpaceX Falcon 1 vehicle, which was retired in 2009 following five launches, two of which were successful.[2] The Falcon 1e consists of a new first stage, the same second stage used on the Falcon 1, and a new, larger payload fairing, and was proposed to be partially reusable. It had originally been announced to make its maiden flight in mid-2011,[3] but the company withdrew the rocket from the market, citing "limited demand."[4][5]

The Falcon 1e was withdrawn from the SpaceX sales portfolio in 2011 due to a lack of sales for the small payloads Falcon 1e was capable of flying.[6] SpaceX stated in December 2011 that "Current plans are for payloads that would fly on Falcon 1 to be served by flights on the Falcon 9, utilizing excess capacity" and no Falcon 1e flights are scheduled through 2017.[7]

The 1e first stage would continue to use a pump-fed Merlin 1C while the second stage engine would be a pressure-fed modified Kestrel called a Kestrel 2.[1]


The Falcon 1e was planned to be 6.1 metres (20 ft) longer than the Falcon 1, with an overall length of 27.4 metres (90 ft), although both rockets have the same diameter; 1.68 metres (5 ft 6 in). Its first stage has a mass of 5,680 kilograms (12,520 lb), and is powered by a single pump-fed[1] Merlin 1C engine, burning 39,463 kilograms (87,001 lb) of RP-1 and liquid oxygen. The first stage burns to depletion, taking around 169 seconds to do so.[1] The second stage has a mass of 544 kilograms (1,199 lb) and its pressure-fed[1] Kestrel 2 engine burns 3,037 kilograms (6,695 lb) of propellant. The engine is restartable, and can burn for up to a total of 418 seconds.[8]

The Falcon 1e planned to use Aluminum Lithium alloy 2195 in the second stage, a change from the 2014 Aluminum used in the Falcon 1 second stages.[1] However, this was never flown on the 1e.


Falcon 1e launches were intended to occur from Omelek Island, part of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and from Cape Canaveral, however SpaceX had announced that they would consider other locations as long as there is a "business case for establishing the requested launch site".[8] Following a demonstration flight, the Falcon 1e was intended make a series of launches carrying Orbcomm O2G spacecraft, with a total of eighteen satellites being launched, several per rocket.[9] EADS Astrium had been responsible for marketing the Falcon 1e in Europe.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bjelde, Brian; Max Vozoff; Gwynne Shotwell (August 2007). "The Falcon 1 Launch Vehicle: Demonstration Flights, Status, Manifest, and Upgrade Path". 21st Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites (SSC07 ‐ III ‐ 6). Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  2. ^ "Falcon 1". Space Exploration Technologies Corporation. Archived from the original on 14 September 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b de Selding, Peter B (13 September 2010). "Astrium to Market SpaceX Falcon 1 Launches in Europe". SpaceNews.com. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Jessy Xavier, “Europes First Vega Rocket Blasts Off Successfully,” Oregon Herald, February 13, 2012
  5. ^ "Virgin Galactic relaunches its smallsat launch business". NewSpace Journal. 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2012-07-11. "The Falcon 1e was to provide approximately 1,000 kilograms for $11 million, but the company withdrew the vehicle from the market, citing limited demand." 
  6. ^ Foust, Jeff (22 August 2011). "New opportunities for smallsat launches". The Space Review. Retrieved 22 March 2014. "We had the Falcon 1 offered for a lengthy period of time and could not securely manifest a sustainable amount to keep the product line going. ... We have promised to reevaluate that at the end of this year, and if we decide the market is viable, we will come back in and reintroduce the Falcon 1e." 
  7. ^ O'Neill, Ian (2011-09-30). "The Falcon is Dead, Long Live the Falcon?". Discovery News. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Falcon 1 Launch Vehicle Payload User's Guide". Space Exploration Technologies Corporation. May 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Ferster, Warren (3 September 2009). "SpaceX Lands Orbcomm 18 Satellite Launch Deal". SpaceNews.com. Retrieved 14 September 2010.