Early Falcon 5 design
|Function||Human-rated re-usable orbital launch vehicle|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Height||29 m (95 ft)|
|Diameter||3.65 m (12 ft)|
|Mass||155,000 kg (340,000 lb)|
|Payload to LEO||4,200 kg (9200 lb) at 200 km orbit 28 degree inclination|
Geosynchronous transfer orbit
|1,250 kg (2,750 lb) 9 degree inclination|
|Launch sites||SLC-3W Vandenberg AFB
SLC-36 Cape Canaveral
|Thrust||1,890 kN (425,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||Sea level: 255 sec (2.6 kN/kg)
Vacuum: 304 sec (3.0 kN/kg)
|Burn time||200 seconds|
|Thrust||409 kN (93,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||Vacuum: 304 sec (3.0 kN/kg)|
|Burn time||265 seconds|
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 all stages designed for reuse.
The Falcon 5 would have been the first American rocket since the Saturn V to have full engine out capability, meaning 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. In comparison, the Space Shuttle only had partial engine out capability, meaning it may not be able to achieve proper orbit by burning the remaining engines longer.
|Stage 1||5 × Merlin 1C|
|Stage 2||1 × Merlin 1C|
|3.6 or 5.2 (large fairing)|
- LEO, 200 km (120 mi), 28 degrees: 4,100 kg (9,000 lb)
- GTO, 36,000 km (22,000 mi) 9 degrees: 1,050 kg (2,310 lb)
Related launch vehicle plans
Although an original Falcon 5 was never built, in December 2011 Stratolaunch Systems announced that they planned to develop a four- or five-engine Falcon 9-derivative two-stage liquid-fueled air-launched launch vehicle to be developed by SpaceX. The launch vehicle was planned to be "along the lines of the company's Falcon 4 [sic] or Falcon 5," and was to have been capable of launching a 6,100 kilograms (13,500 lb) payload into low earth orbit.
The air-launched rocket concept was eventually named the Falcon 9 Air, and was being designed to have only four Merlin 1D engines. However, development was halted in late 2012 when SpaceX and Stratolaunch "amicably agreed to end [their] contractual relationship because the [Stratolaunch] launch vehicle design [had] departed significantly from the Falcon derivative vehicle envisioned by SpaceX and does not fit well with [SpaceX's] long-term strategic business model."
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