List of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches

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Falcon 9 rocket family; from left to right: Falcon 9 v1.0, v1.1, v1.2 "Full Thrust", Block 5, and Falcon Heavy.

Since their first mission in June 2010, rockets from the Falcon 9 family have been launched 61 times, with 59 full mission successes, one partial failure and one total loss of spacecraft. In addition, one rocket and its payload were destroyed on the launch pad in the fueling process before a static fire test.

Designed and operated by private manufacturer SpaceX, the Falcon 9 rocket family includes the retired versions Falcon 9 v1.0 and v1.1, current v1.2 "Full Thrust" with its Block 5 variant, and Falcon Heavy. Falcon Heavy is a heavy-lift derivative of Falcon 9: It joins a strengthened central core with two Falcon 9 first stages as side boosters.[1]

The Falcon design features reusable first-stage boosters, landing either on a ground pad near the launch site, or on a drone ship at sea.[2] In December 2015, Falcon 9 became the first rocket to land propulsively after delivering a payload to orbit.[3] This achievement is expected to significantly reduce launch costs.[4] Falcon 9 core boosters have successfully landed 28 times in 34 attempts, and 15 of them have flown a second mission, including 2 as Falcon Heavy side boosters.

Falcon 9's typical missions include cargo delivery to the International Space Station (ISS) with the Dragon capsule, launch of communications satellites and Earth observation satellites to geostationary transfer orbits (GTO), and low-Earth orbits (LEO), some of them at polar inclinations. The heaviest payloads launched to date were batches of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites weighing 9,600 kg (21,200 lb) to a 777 km (483 mi) low Earth orbit (LEO), and Intelsat 35e with 6,761 kg (14,905 lb) to GTO.[a] Launches to higher orbits have included the DSCOVR probe to the Sun–Earth Lagrangian point L1, the TESS space telescope launched on a Lunar flyby trajectory, and the Falcon Heavy test flight whose payload, a Tesla roadster, escaped Earth's gravity well and reached a heliocentric orbit extending to the orbit of Mars.

Falcon 9 Flight 20 night launch from Cape Canaveral (bright line) and landing of the first stage (dimmer lines) on December 22, 2015
First vertical landing on an autonomous spaceport drone ship of a Falcon 9 first-stage booster (serial number B1021) on April 8, 2016, after the CRS-8 mission

Launch statistics[edit]

Rockets from the Falcon 9 family have been launched 61 times over 8 years, resulting in 59 full mission successes (96.7%), one partial success (CRS-1 delivered its cargo to the ISS, but a secondary payload was stranded in a lower-than-planned orbit), and one failure (the CRS-7 spacecraft was lost in flight). Additionally, one rocket and its payload Amos-6 were destroyed before launch in preparation for an on-pad static fire test.

The first rocket version Falcon 9 v1.0 was launched 5 times from June 2010 to March 2013, its successor Falcon 9 v1.1 15 times from September 2013 to January 2016, and the latest upgrade Falcon 9 Full Thrust 40 times from December 2015 to present, 13 of which using a re-flown first stage booster. Falcon Heavy was launched once in February 2018, incorporating two refurbished first stages as side boosters. The final "Block 4" booster to be produced was flown in April 2018, and the first Block 5 version in May. While Block 4 boosters were only ever flown twice and required several months of refurbishment, Block 5 versions are designed to sustain 10 flights with just inspections, possibly on a 24-hour turnover.[5]

The rocket's first-stage boosters have been recovered in 28 of 34 landing attempts (82%).

Past launches[edit]

2010 to 2013[edit]

Flight № Date and
time (UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
1 June 4, 2010, 18:45 F9 v1.0[6]
CCAFS LC-40 Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit LEO SpaceX Success Failure[8][9]
First flight of Falcon 9 v1.0.[10] Used a boilerplate version of Dragon capsule which was not designed to separate from the second stage.(more details below)
2 December 8, 2010, 15:43[11] F9 v1.0[6]
CCAFS LC-40 Dragon demo flight C1, two CubeSats,[12] barrel of Brouère cheese[13] LEO (ISS) Success[8] Failure[8][14]
Maiden flight of Dragon capsule, consisting of over 3 hours of testing thruster maneuvering and reentry.[15] (more details below)
3 May 22, 2012, 07:44[16] F9 v1.0[6]
CCAFS LC-40 Dragon demo flight C2+[17] 525 kg
(1,157 lb)[18]
LEO (ISS) NASA (COTS) Success[19] No attempt
Dragon spacecraft demonstrated a series of tests before it was allowed to approach the ISS. Two days later it became the first commercial spacecraft to board the ISS.[16] (more details below)
4 October 8, 2012, 00:35[20] F9 v1.0[6]
CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-1[21] 500 kg
(1,100 lb)
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success No attempt
Secondary payload: Orbcomm-OG2[22] 172 kg
(379 lb)[23]
LEO Orbcomm Partial failure[24]
CRS-1 was successful, but the secondary payload was inserted into abnormally low orbit and subsequently lost. This was due to one of the nine Merlin engines shutting down during the launch, and as per ISS visiting vehicle safety rules, the primary payload owner, NASA, was contractually allowed to decline a second reignition.[25][26][27] It was the first time SpaceX produced a webcast for one of their own launches.[28](more details below)
5 March 1, 2013, 15:10 F9 v1.0[6]
CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-2[21] 677 kg
(1,493 lb)
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success No attempt
Last launch of the original Falcon 9 v1.0 launch vehicle, first use of the unpressurized trunk section of Dragon.[29]
6 September 29, 2013, 16:00[30] F9 v1.1[6]
VAFB SLC-4E CASSIOPE[21][31] 500 kg
(1,100 lb)
Polar LEO MDA Success[30] Uncontrolled
First commercial mission with a private customer, first launch from Vandenberg, and demonstration flight of Falcon 9 v1.1 with an improved 13-tonne to LEO capacity.[29] After separation from the second stage carrying Canadian commercial and scientific satellites, the first stage booster performed a controlled reentry,[32] and an ocean touchdown test for the first time. This provided good test data, even though the booster started rolling as it neared the ocean, leading to the shutdown of the central engine as centrifugal forces depleted it of fuel, and hard impact with the ocean.[30] (more details below)
7 December 3, 2013, 22:41[33] F9 v1.1 CCAFS LC-40 SES-8[21][34][35] 3,170 kg
(6,990 lb)
GTO SES Success[36] No attempt
First GTO launch for Falcon 9,[34] and first successful reignition of the second stage.[38]


Flight № Date and
time (UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
8 January 6, 2014, 22:06[39] F9 v1.1 CCAFS LC-40 Thaicom 6[21] 3,325 kg
(7,330 lb)
GTO Thaicom Success[40] No attempt
The Thai communication satellite was the second GTO launch for Falcon 9. The USAF evaluated launch data from this flight as part of a separate certification program for SpaceX to qualify to fly military payloads, but found that the launch had "unacceptable fuel reserves at engine cutoff of the stage 2 second burnoff".[42]
9 April 18, 2014, 19:25[20] F9 v1.1 CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-3[21] 2,296 kg
(5,062 lb)[43]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success Controlled
Following second-stage separation, SpaceX conducted a second controlled-descent test of the discarded booster vehicle and achieved the first successful controlled ocean touchdown of a liquid-rocket-engine orbital booster.[45][46] Following the soft touchdown, the first stage tipped over as expected and was destroyed. This was the first Falcon 9 booster to fly with extensible landing legs and the first Dragon mission with the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle.
10 July 14, 2014, 15:15 F9 v1.1 CCAFS LC-40 Orbcomm-OG2-1
(6 satellites)[21]
1,316 kg
(2,901 lb)
LEO Orbcomm Success[47] Controlled
Payload included 6 satellites weighing 172 kg each and two 142-kg mass simulators.[23][48] Equipped for the second time with landing legs, the first-stage booster successfully conducted a controlled-descent test consisting of a burn for deceleration from hypersonic velocity in the upper atmosphere, a reentry burn, and a final landing burn before soft-landing on the ocean surface.[49]
11 August 5, 2014, 08:00 F9 v1.1 CCAFS LC-40 AsiaSat 8[21][50][51] 4,535 kg
(9,998 lb)
GTO AsiaSat Success[52] No attempt
First time SpaceX managed a launch site turnaround between two flights of under a month (22 days). GTO launch of the large communication satellite from Hong Kong did not allow for propulsive return-over-water and controlled splashdown of the first stage.[53]
12 September 7, 2014, 05:00 F9 v1.1
CCAFS LC-40 AsiaSat 6[21][50][54] 4,428 kg
(9,762 lb)
GTO AsiaSat Success[55] No attempt
Launch was delayed for two weeks for additional verifications after a malfunction observed in the development of the F9R Dev1 prototype.[56] GTO launch of the heavy payload did not allow for controlled splashdown.[57]
13 September 21, 2014, 05:52[20] F9 v1.1
CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-4[21] 2,216 kg
(4,885 lb)[58]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success[59] Uncontrolled
Fourth attempt of a soft ocean touchdown,[61] but the booster ran out of liquid oxygen.[60] Detailed thermal imaging infrared sensor data was collected however by NASA, as part of a joint arrangement with SpaceX as part of research on retropropulsive deceleration technologies for developing new approaches to Martian atmospheric entry.[61]


Flight № Date and
time (UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
14 January 10, 2015, 09:47[62] F9 v1.1
CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-5[63] 2,395 kg
(5,280 lb)[64]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success[65] Failure[66]
(drone ship)
Following second-stage separation, SpaceX attempted to return the first stage for the first time to a 90-by-50-meter (300 ft × 160 ft) floating platform—called the autonomous spaceport drone ship. The test achieved many objectives and returned a large amount of data, but the grid-fin control surfaces used for the first time for more precise reentry positioning ran out of hydraulic fluid for its control system a minute before landing, resulting in a landing crash.[67][68]
15 February 11, 2015, 23:03[69] F9 v1.1
CCAFS LC-40 DSCOVR[63][70] 570 kg
(1,260 lb)
HEO for Sun–Earth L1 insertion Success Controlled
First launch under USAF's OSP 3 launch contract.[71] First SpaceX launch to put a satellite beyond a geostationary transfer orbit, first SpaceX launch into interplanetary space, and first SpaceX launch of an American research satellite. The first stage made a test flight descent to an over-ocean landing within 10 m (33 ft) of its intended target.[72]
16 March 2, 2015, 03:50[20][73] F9 v1.1
CCAFS LC-40 4,159 kg
(9,169 lb)
GTO Success No attempt
The launch was Boeing's first-ever conjoined launch of a lighter-weight dual-commsat stack that was specifically designed to take advantage of the lower-cost SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.[75][76] Per satellite, launch costs were less than $30 million.[77] The ABS satellite reached its final destination ahead of schedule and started operations on September 10.[78]
17 April 14, 2015, 20:10[20] F9 v1.1
CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-6[63] 1,898 kg
(4,184 lb)[79]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success Failure[80]
(drone ship)
After second-stage separation, a controlled-descent test was attempted with the first stage. After the booster contacted the ship, it tipped over due to excess lateral velocity caused by a stuck throttle valve that delayed downthrottle at the correct time.[81][82]
18 April 27, 2015, 23:03[83] F9 v1.1
CCAFS LC-40 TürkmenÄlem 52°E / MonacoSAT[63][84] 4,707 kg
(10,377 lb)
GTO Turkmenistan National Space Agency[85] Success No attempt
Original intended launch was delayed over a month after an issue with the helium pressurisation system was identified on similar parts in the assembly plant.[87] Subsequent launch successfully positioned this first Turkmen satellite at 52°E.
19 June 28, 2015, 14:21[20][88] F9 v1.1
CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-7[63] 1,952 kg
(4,303 lb)[89]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Failure[90]
(in flight)
(drone ship)
Launch performance was nominal until an overpressure incident in the second-stage LOX tank, leading to vehicle breakup at T+150 seconds. Dragon capsule survived the explosion but was lost upon splashdown as its software did not contain provisions for parachute deployment on launch vehicle failure.[92] (more details below)
20 December 22, 2015, 01:29[93] F9 FT
CCAFS LC-40 Orbcomm-OG2-2
(11 satellites)[21][93]
2,034 kg
(4,484 lb)
LEO Orbcomm Success Success[95]
(ground pad)
Payload included eleven satellites weighing 172 kg each,[23] and a 142-kg mass simulator.[48] First launch of the upgraded v1.1 version (later called Falcon 9 Full Thrust), with a 30% power increase.[96] Orbcomm had originally agreed to be the third flight of the enhanced-thrust rocket,[97] but the change to the maiden flight position was announced in October 2015.[96] SpaceX received a permit from the FAA to land the booster on solid ground at Cape Canaveral[98] and succeeded for the first time.[95] This booster, serial number B1019, is now on permanent display outside SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, at the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Jack Northrop Avenue.[94] (more details below)


Flight № Date and
time (UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
21 January 17, 2016, 18:42[20] F9 v1.1
VAFB SLC-4E Jason-3[63][99] 553 kg
(1,219 lb)
LEO Success Failure
(drone ship)
First launch of NASA and NOAA joint science mission under the NLS II launch contract (not related to NASA CRS or USAF OSP3 contracts) and last launch of the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle. The Jason-3 satellite was successfully deployed to target orbit.[100] SpaceX attempted for the first time to recover the first-stage booster on its new Pacific autonomous drone ship, but after a soft landing on the ship, the lockout on one of the landing legs failed to latch and the booster fell over and exploded.[101][102]
22 March 4, 2016, 23:35[20] F9 FT
CCAFS LC-40 SES-9[63][104][105] 5,271 kg
(11,621 lb)
GTO SES Success Failure
(drone ship)
Second launch of the enhanced Falcon 9 Full Thrust launch vehicle.[96] SpaceX attempted for the first time to recover a booster from a GTO launch to a drone ship.[106] Successful landing was not expected due to low fuel reserves[107] and the booster "landed hard".[108] But the controlled-descent, atmospheric re-entry and navigation to the drone ship were successful and returned significant test data on bringing back high-energy Falcon 9 boosters.[109]
23 April 8, 2016, 20:43[20] F9 FT
CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-8[63][105] 3,136 kg
(6,914 lb)[111]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success[112] Success[113]
(drone ship)
Dragon carried over 1500 kg of supplies and delivered the inflatable Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) to the ISS for two years of in-orbit tests.[114] The rocket's first stage landed smoothly on SpaceX's autonomous spaceport drone ship at 9 minutes after liftoff, making this the first ever successful landing of a rocket booster on a ship at sea from an orbital launch.[115] The first stage B1021 later became the first orbital booster to be reused when it launched SES-10 on March 30, 2017.[110] A month later, the Dragon spacecraft returned a downmass containing astronaut's Scott Kelly biological samples from his year-long mission on ISS.[116](more details below)
24 May 6, 2016, 05:21[20] F9 FT
CCAFS LC-40 JCSAT-14[118] 4,696 kg
(10,353 lb)[119]
GTO SKY Perfect JSAT Group Success Success
(drone ship)
First time SpaceX launched a Japanese satellite, and first time a booster landed successfully after launching a payload into a GTO.[120] As this flight profile has a smaller margin for the booster recovery, the first stage re-entered Earth's atmosphere faster than for previous landings, with five times the heating power.[121][122]
25 May 27, 2016, 21:39[123] F9 FT
CCAFS LC-40 Thaicom 8[125][126] 3,100 kg
(6,800 lb)[127]
GTO Thaicom Success Success[128]
(drone ship)
Second successful return from a GTO launch,[129] after launching Thaicom 8 towards 78.5° E.[130] Later became the first booster to be reflown after being recovered from a GTO launch.
26 June 15, 2016, 14:29[20] F9 FT
3,600 kg
(7,900 lb)[131]
GTO Success Failure[133]
(drone ship)
One year after pioneering this technique on Flight 16, Falcon again launched two Boeing 702SP gridded ion thruster satellites in a dual-stack configuration, with the two customers sharing the rocket and mission costs.[78] First-stage landing attempt on drone ship failed due to low thrust on one of the three landing engines;[134] a sub-optimal path led to the stage running out of propellant just above the deck of the landing ship.[135]
27 July 18, 2016, 04:45[20] F9 FT
CCAFS LC-40 SpaceX CRS-9[63][136] 2,257 kg
(4,976 lb)[137]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success Success
(ground pad)
Cargo to ISS included an International Docking Adapter (IDA-2) and total payload with reusable Dragon Capsule was 6,457 kilograms (14,235 lb). Second successful first-stage landing on a ground pad.[138]
28 August 14, 2016, 05:26 F9 FT
CCAFS LC-40 JCSAT-16 4,600 kg
(10,100 lb)
GTO SKY Perfect JSAT Group Success Success
(drone ship)
First attempt to land from a ballistic trajectory using a single-engine landing burn, as all previous landings from a ballistic trajectory had fired three engines on the final burn. The latter provides more braking force but subjects the vehicle to greater structural stresses, while the single-engine landing burn takes more time and fuel while allowing more time during final descent for corrections.[139]
N/A[d] September 3, 2016, 07:00
CCAFS LC-40 Amos-6[141] 5,500 kg
(12,100 lb)
GTO Spacecom Precluded
(failure pre-flight)
(drone ship)
The rocket and the Amos-6 payload were lost in a launch pad explosion on September 1 during propellant filling procedures prior to a static fire test.[142] The pad was clear of personnel, and there were no injuries.[143] SpaceX released an official statement in January 2017 indicating that the cause of the failure was a buckled liner in several of the COPV tanks, causing perforations that allowed liquid and/or solid oxygen to accumulate underneath the lining, which was ignited by friction.[144] Following the explosion, SpaceX has switched to performing static fire tests only without attached payloads. (more details below)


Flight № Date and
time (UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
29 January 14, 2017, 17:54 F9 FT
VAFB SLC-4E Iridium NEXT-1
(10 satellites)[146][147]
9,600 kg
(21,200 lb)
Polar LEO Iridium Communications Success Success[148]
(drone ship)
Return-to-flight mission after the loss of Amos-6 in September 2016. This was the first launch of a series of Iridium NEXT satellites intended to replace the original Iridium constellation launched in the late 1990s. Each Falcon 9 mission carried 10 satellites, with a goal of 66 plus 9 spare[149] satellites constellation by mid-2018.[150][151] Following the delayed launch of the first two Iridium units with a Dnepr rocket from April 2016, Iridium Communications decided to launch the first batch of 10 satellites with SpaceX instead.[152] Payload comprised ten satellites weighing 860 kg each plus a 1,000-kg dispenser.[153]
30 February 19, 2017, 14:39 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A SpaceX CRS-10[136] 2,490 kg
(5,490 lb)[154]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success Success
(ground pad)
First Falcon 9 flight from the historic LC-39A launchpad at Kennedy Space Center, carrying supplies and materials to support ISS Expeditions 50 and 51, and third return of first stage booster to landing pad at Cape Canaveral LZ-1.[155]
31 March 16, 2017, 06:00 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A EchoStar 23 5,600 kg
(12,300 lb)[157]
GTO EchoStar Success No attempt
Launched a communications satellite for broadcast services over Brazil.[159] Due to the payload size launch into a GTO, the booster was expended into the Atlantic and did not feature landing legs and grid fins.[160]
32 March 30, 2017, 22:27 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A SES-10[104][161] 5,300 kg
(11,700 lb)[162]
GTO SES Success[163] Success
(drone ship)
First payload to fly on a reused first stage, B1021, previously launched with CRS-8, and first to land intact a second time.[164][163] Additionally, for the first time the payload fairing remained intact after a successful splashdown achieved with thrusters and a steerable parachute.[165][166] (more details below)
33 May 1, 2017, 11:15 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A NROL-76[167] Classified LEO[168] NRO Success Success
(ground pad)
First launch under SpaceX's 2015 certification for national security space missions, which allowed SpaceX to contract launch services for classified payloads,[169] and thus breaking the monopoly ULA held on classified launches since 2006.[170] For the first time, SpaceX offered continuous livestream of first stage booster from liftoff to landing, but omitted second-stage speed and altitude telemetry.[171]
34 May 15, 2017, 23:21 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A Inmarsat-5 F4[173] 6,070 kg
(13,380 lb)[174]
GTO Inmarsat Success No attempt
The launch was originally scheduled for the Falcon Heavy, but performance improvements allowed the mission to be carried out by an expendable Falcon 9 instead.[175]
35 June 3, 2017, 21:07 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A SpaceX CRS-11[136] 2,708 kg
(5,970 lb)[177]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success Success
(ground pad)
This mission delivered NICER,[178] MUSES[179] ROSA[180] and an Advanced Plant Habitat to the ISS.[181][182] This mission launched for the first time a refurbished Dragon capsule,[183] serial number C106, which had flown in September 2014 on the CRS-4 mission,[176] and was the first time since 2011 a reused spacecraft arrived at the ISS.[184] Five cubesats were included in the payload, the first satellites from the countries of Bangladesh (BRAC ONNESHA), Ghana (GhanaSat-1), and Mongolia (Mazaalai).[185]
36 June 23, 2017, 19:10 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A BulgariaSat-1[187] 3,669 kg
(8,089 lb)[188]
GTO Bulsatcom Success Success
(drone ship)
Second time a booster was reused, as B1029 had flown the Iridium mission in January 2017.[186] This was the first commercial Bulgarian-owned communications satellite.[186]
37 June 25, 2017, 20:25 F9 FT
VAFB SLC-4E Iridium NEXT-2
(10 satellites)
9,600 kg
(21,200 lb)
LEO Iridium Communications Success Success
(drone ship)
Second Iridium constellation launch of 10 satellites, and first flight using titanium (instead of aluminium) grid fins to improve control authority and better cope with heat during re-entry.[190]
38 July 5, 2017 23:38 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A Intelsat 35e[192] 6,761 kg
(14,905 lb)[193]
GTO Intelsat Success No attempt
Originally expected to be flown on a Falcon Heavy,[194] improvements to the Merlin engines meant that the heavy satellite could be flown to GTO in an expendable configuration of Falcon 9.[195] The rocket achieved a super-synchronous orbit peaking at 43,000 km (27,000 mi), exceeding the minimum requirements of 28,000 km (17,000 mi).[196]
39 August 14, 2017, 16:31 F9 B4
KSC LC-39A SpaceX CRS-12[136] 3,310 kg
(7,300 lb)
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success Success
(ground pad)
Dragon carried 2,349 kg (5,179 lb) of pressurized and 961 kg (2,119 lb) unpressurized mass, including the CREAM detector.[181] First flight of the upgrade known informally as "Block 4", which increases thrust from the main engines and includes other small upgrades,[197] and last flight of a newly-built Dragon capsule, as further missions are planned to use refurbished spacecrafts.[198]
40 August 24, 2017, 18:51 F9 FT
VAFB SLC-4E Formosat-5[200][201] 475 kg
(1,047 lb)[202]
SSO NSPO Success Success
(drone ship)
First Earth observation satellite developed and constructed by Taiwan. The payload was much under the rocket's specifications, as the Spaceflight Industries SHERPA space tug had been removed from the cargo manifest of this mission,[203] leading to analyst speculations that with discounts due to delays, SpaceX lost money on the launch.[204]
41 September 7, 2017, 14:00[205] F9 B4
KSC LC-39A Boeing X-37B OTV-5 4,990 kg
(11,000 lb)[206]+ unknown payload
LEO U.S. Air Force Success Success
(ground pad)
Due to the classified nature of the mission, the second-stage speed and altitude telemetry were omitted from the launch webcast. Notably, the primary contractor, Boeing, had launched the X-37B with ULA, a Boeing partnership and a SpaceX competitor.[207] Second flight of the Falcon 9 Block 4 upgrade.[208]
42 October 9, 2017, 12:37 F9 B4
VAFB SLC-4E Iridium NEXT-3
(10 satellites)[146]
9,600 kg
(21,200 lb)
Polar LEO Iridium Communications Success Success
(drone ship)
Third flight of the Falcon 9 Block 4 upgrade, and the third launch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites.[209]
43 October 11, 2017, 22:53 F9 FT
KSC LC-39A SES-11 / EchoStar 105 5,200 kg
(11,500 lb)
GTO Success Success
(drone ship)
Third reuse and recovery of a previously flown first-stage booster.[210] The large satellite is shared, in “condosat” arrangement between SES and Echostar.[211]
44 October 30, 2017, 19:34 F9 B4
KSC LC-39A Koreasat 5A[212] 3,500 kg
(7,700 lb)
GTO KT Corporation Success Success
(drone ship)
First SpaceX launch of a South Korean satellite, placed in GEO at 113° E.[213] It was the third launch and land for SpaceX in three weeks, and the 15th successful landing in a row.[214] A small fire was observed under the booster after it landed, leading to speculations about damages to the engines which would preclude it from flying it again.[215]
45 December 15, 2017, 15:36[216] F9 FT
CCAFS SLC-40 SpaceX CRS-13[136] 2,205 kg
(4,861 lb)
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success Success
(ground pad)
First launch to take place at the refurbished pad at Cape Canaveral after the 2016 Amos-6 explosion, and the 20th successful booster landing. Being the second reuse of a Dragon capsule (previously flown on CRS-6) and fourth reuse of a booster (previously flown on CRS-11) it was the first time both major components were reused.[218][217]
46 December 23, 2017, 01:27[219] F9 FT
VAFB SLC-4E Iridium NEXT-4
(10 satellites)[146]
9,600 kg
(21,200 lb)
Polar LEO Iridium Communications Success[220] Controlled
In order to avoid delays and convinced of no increased risks, Iridium Communications accepted the use a recovered booster for its 10 satellites, and became the first customer to fly the same first-stage booster twice (from the second Iridium NEXT mission).[221][222] SpaceX chose not to attempt recovery of the booster, but did perform a soft ocean touchdown.[223] The launch occurred during sunset, which caused a twilight effect where sunlight reflected from the rocket plumes at high altitude, causing "jaw-dropping views" across Southern California and surrounding regions.[224]


Flight № Date and
time (UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
47 January 8, 2018, 01:00[225] F9 B4
Zuma[226][227][228] Classified LEO Northrop Grumman[e][226] Success[229]
(payload status unclear)
(ground pad)
The mission had been postponed by nearly two months. Following a nominal launch, the recovery of the first-stage booster marked the 17th successful recovery in a row.[230] Rumors appeared that the payload was lost, as the satellite might have failed to separate from the second stage,[231] to which SpaceX announced that their rocket performed nominally.[231] The classified nature of the mission means that there is little confirmed information. (more details below)
48 January 31, 2018, 21:25[232] F9 FT
CCAFS SLC-40 GovSat-1 / SES-16[234] 4,230 kg
(9,330 lb)[235]
GTO SES Success[236] Controlled
Reused booster from the classified NROL-76 mission in May 2017.[233] Following a successful experimental soft ocean landing that used three engines, the booster unexpectedly remained intact, but recovery was not attempted, and the booster was subsequently destroyed.[237]
FH 1 February 6, 2018, 20:45[238] B1023.2[7] (side) ♺ KSC LC-39A Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster[239][240] ~1,250 kg
(2,760 lb)[241]
(close to Mars transfer orbit)
SpaceX Success[242] Success
(ground pad)
Heavy core
(drone ship)
B1025.2[7] (side) ♺ Success
(ground pad)
Maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, using two recovered Falcon 9 cores as side boosters (from the Thaicom 8[243] and CRS-9[124] missions), as well as a modified Block 3 booster reinforced to endure the additional load from the two side boosters. The static fire test, held on January 24, was the first time 27 engines were tested together.[244] The launch was a success, and the side boosters landed simultaneously at adjacent ground pads.[242] Drone ship landing of the central core failed due to TEATEB chemical igniter running out, preventing two of its engines from restarting; the landing failure caused damage to the nearby drone ship.[245][246] Final burn to heliocentric Mars–Earth orbit was performed after the second stage and payload cruised for 6 hours through the Van Allen belts.[247] Later, Elon Musk tweeted that the third burn was successful,[248] and JPL's HORIZONS system showed the second stage and payload in an orbit with an aphelion of 1.67 AU.[249] The live webcast proved immensely popular, as it became the second most watched livestream ever on YouTube, reaching over 2.3 million concurrent views.[250] Over 100,000 visitors are believed to have come to the Space Coast to watch the launch in person.[251](more details below)
49 February 22, 2018 14:17[252] F9 FT
VAFB SLC-4E 2,150 kg
(4,740 lb)
SSO Success[256] No attempt
Last flight of a Block 3 first stage. Reused the booster from the Formosat-5 mission.[253] Paz (peace) is Spain's first spy satellite[257] that will be operated in a constellation with the German SAR fleet TSX and TDX.[254] In addition, the rocket carried two SpaceX test satellites for their forthcoming communications network in low Earth orbit.[258][255] This core flew without landing legs and was expended at sea.[258] It also featured an upgraded payload fairing 2.0 with a first recovery attempt using the Mr. Steven crew boat equipped with a net. The fairing narrowly missed the boat, but achieved a soft water landing.[259][260][256]
50 March 6, 2018 05:33[261] F9 B4
CCAFS SLC-40 6,092 kg
(13,431 lb)[264]
GTO Success[265] No attempt
The Spanish commsat was the largest satellite flown by SpaceX as of March 2018, "nearly the size of a bus".[267] A drone ship landing was planned, but scrapped due to unfavorable weather conditions.[266] SpaceX left the landing legs and titanium grid fins in place to prevent further delays, after previous concerns with the fairing pressurization and conflicts with the launch of GOES-S.[268]
51 March 30, 2018
F9 B4
VAFB SLC-4E Iridium NEXT-5
(10 satellites)[146]
9,600 kg
(21,200 lb)
Polar LEO Iridium Communications Success[270] No attempt
Fifth Iridium NEXT mission launch of 10 satellites used the refurbished booster from third Iridium flight. As with recent reflown boosters, SpaceX used the controlled descent of the first stage to test more booster recovery options.[272] SpaceX planned a second recovery attempt of one half of the fairing using the specially modified boat Mr. Steven,[273] but the parafoil twisted, which led to the fairing half missing the boat.[274]
52 April 2, 2018
F9 B4
CCAFS SLC-40 SpaceX CRS-14[136] 2,647 kg
(5,836 lb)[276]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success[277] No attempt
The launch used a refurbished booster (from CRS-12) and a refurbished capsule (C110 from CRS-8).[276] External payloads include a materials research platform MISSE-FF[279] phase 3 of the Robotic Refueling Mission[280] TSIS,[281] ASIM heliophysics sensor,[181] several crystallization experiments,[282] and the RemoveDEBRIS system aimed at space debris removal.[283] The booster was expended, and SpaceX collected more data on reentry profiles.[284] It also carried the first Costa Rican satellite, Project Irazú,[285] and the first Kenyan satellite, 1KUNS-PF.[286]
53 April 18, 2018, 22:51[287] F9 B4
CCAFS SLC-40 Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)[288] 362 kg
(798 lb)[289]
HEO for P/2 orbit NASA (LSP) Success[290] Success[290]
(drone ship)
First NASA high-priority science mission launched by SpaceX. Part of the Explorers program, TESS is space telescope intended for wide-field search of exoplanets transiting nearby stars. It was the first time SpaceX launched a scientific satellite not primarily intended for Earth observations. The second stage placed the spacecraft into a high elliptical Earth orbit, after which the satellite's own booster is scheduled to perform complex maneuvers, including a lunar flyby, such that over the course of two months it will reach a stable 2:1 resonant orbit with the Moon.[291] In January 2018, SpaceX received NASA's Launch Services Program Category 2 certification of its Falcon 9 "Full Thrust", certification which is required for launching "medium-risk" missions like TESS.[292] Last launch of a new Block 4 booster,[293] and the 24th successful recovery of the first stage. An experimental water landing of the launch fairing was performed in order to attempt fairing recovery, primarily as a test of parachute systems.[289][290]
54 May 11, 2018
F9 B5[295]
KSC LC-39A Bangabandhu-1[296][297] 3,600 kg
(7,900 lb)[298]
GTO Thales-Alenia/BTRC Success[299] Success[299]
(drone ship)
First Block 5 launch vehicle booster to fly. Initially planned for an Ariane 5 launch in December 2017,[300] it became the first Bangladeshi commercial satellite,[301] built by Thales-Alenia.[302][303] It is intended to serve telecom services from 119° E with a lifetime of 15 years.[304] It was the 25th successfully recovered first stage booster.[299]
55 May 22, 2018
F9 B4
VAFB SLC-4E 6,460 kg
(14,240 lb)[f]
Polar LEO Success[311] No attempt
Sixth Iridium NEXT mission launching 5 satellites used the refurbished booster from Zuma. GFZ arranged a rideshare of GRACE-FO on a Falcon 9 with Iridium following the cancellation of their Dnepr launch contract in 2015.[307] Iridium CEO Matt Desch disclosed in September 2017 that GRACE-FO would be launched on this mission.[312] The booster reuse turnaround was a record 4.5 months between flights.[313]
56 June 4, 2018
F9 B4
CCAFS SLC-40 SES-12[315] 5,384 kg
(11,870 lb)[316]
Super-GTO SES Success[317] No attempt
The communications satellite serving the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region at the same place as SES-8, and was the largest satellite built for SES.[315] The Block 4 first stage was expended,[316] while the second stage was a Block 5 version, delivering more power towards a higher supersynchronous transfer orbit with 58,000 km (36,000 mi) apogee.[318]
57 June 29, 2018
F9 B4
CCAFS SLC-40 SpaceX CRS-15 2,697 kg
(5,946 lb)[321]
LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS) Success[322] No attempt
Payload included MISSE-FF 2, ECOSTRESS, and a Latching End Effector. The refurbished booster featured a record 2.5 months period turnaround from its original launch of the TESS satellite — the fastest previous was 4.5 months. This was the last commercial flight of a Block 4 booster, which was expended into the Atlantic without landing legs and grid fins.[323]
58 July 22, 2018
F9 B5
CCAFS SLC-40 Telstar 19V[325] 7,075 kg
(15,598 lb) [326]
Sub-GTO Telesat Success[327] Success[327]
(drone ship)
SSL-manufactured communications satellite intended to be placed at 63° West over the Americas,[328] replacing Telstar 14R.[329] At 7,075 kg, it became the heaviest commercial communications satellite ever launched.[330][331] This necessitated the satellite to be launched in a sub-GTO trajectory, with its initial apogee at roughly 11,100 miles (17,900 km).[329]
59 July 25, 2018
F9 B5[333]
VAFB SLC-4E Iridium NEXT-7
(10 satellites)[146]
9,600 kg
(21,200 lb)
Polar LEO Iridium Communications Success[335] Success[336]
(drone ship)
Seventh Iridium NEXT launch, with 10 communication satellites.[335] The booster landed safely on the drone ship in the worst weather conditions for any landing yet attempted.[336][335] Mr. Steven boat with an upgraded 4x size net was used to attempt fairing recovery but failed due to harsh weather.[336][335]
60 August 7, 2018
F9 B5
CCAFS SLC-40 Merah Putih (formerly Telkom 4)[339][340] 5,800 kg
(12,800 lb)[341]
GTO Telkom Indonesia Success[342] Success[342]
(drone ship)
Indonesian comsat intended to replace the aging Telkom 1 at 108° E.[343] First reflight of a Block 5-version booster.[344]

Future launches[edit]

Future launches are listed chronologically when firm planning dates are in place. The order of the later launches is much less certain, as the official SpaceX manifest does not include a schedule.[345] Tentative launch dates are picked from various sources for each launch.[346][347][348][349] Launches are expected to take place "no earlier than" (NET) the listed date.

In November 2017, Gwynne Shotwell expected to increase launch cadence in 2018 by about 50% compared to 2017, leveling out at a rate of about 30 to 40 per year, not including launches for the planned SpaceX satellite constellation Starlink.[350] Repairs and modernization of the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 have been completed and the pad returned to service in December 2017, increasing the launch rate capability.[351][226] In 2018, SpaceX expects to fly half of its missions with reused first stages.[352]

Future 2018 launches[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Version,
Launch site Payload Orbit Customer

August 24, 2018
F9 B5
CCAFS SLC-40 Telstar 18V / Apstar-5C [325] GTO Telesat
Condosat that will be placed at 138° East over Asia and Pacific.[353]
September 29, 2018[348] F9 B5


VAFB SLC-4E SAOCOM 1A[355][356][357] SSO CONAE
Argentinian Earth-observation satellite originally intended to be launched in 2012.[358] It is planned to be the first time that the West Coast ground pad will be used to land a first stage booster.[359][360]
October 2018[348] F9 B5[333] VAFB SLC-4E Iridium NEXT-8
(10 satellites)[146]
Polar LEO Iridium Communications
Final mission of the Iridium NEXT contract, launching 10 satellites.
November 7, 2018[348] F9 B5 VAFB SLC-4E RADARSAT Constellation 3[361] SSO Canadian Space Agency
The mission will reuse a previously flown booster.[362]
November 29, 2018[346] F9 B5 CCAFS SLC-40 SpaceX CRS-16[136] LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS)
Will carry the IDA 3 docking adapter.
November 30, 2018[363] Heavy B5[251] KSC LC-39A Space Test Program Flight 2 (STP-2) LEO / MEO U.S. Air Force
Second launch of Falcon Heavy, USAF Space Test Program Flight 2 (STP-2),[71] carrying as many as 25 small satellites,[364] including: FormoSat-7 A/B/C/D/E/F integrated using EELV Secondary Payload Adapter,[365] DSX, Prox-1[366] / LightSail 2,[367] GPIM,[368] DSAC,[369] and ISAT. It will include a 5,000 kg ballast mass, and the Block 5 second stage will allow multiple reignitions to place its many payloads in multiple orbits.[370]
November 2018[348] F9 B5 VAFB SLC-4E Spaceflight SSO-A (SmallSat Express) SSO Spaceflight Industries
Rideshare mission[371] with SHERPA dispenser will carry more than 70 small satellites,[372] including Eu:CROPIS[373] for the German DLR, ITASAT-1 for the Brazilian Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica,[374] and two high-resolution SkySat imaging satellites for Planet Labs.[375]
November 2018[376] F9 B5
Demonstration mission to ISS for NASA with an uncrewed Dragon 2 capsule.[379]
November–December 2018[347] F9 B5
CCAFS SLC-40 Es'hail 2[380] GTO Es'hailSat
Qatari comsat that will be positioned at 26° E.[380]
December 2018[381] F9 B5 CCAFS SLC-40 GPS IIIA-01 MEO U.S. Air Force
Initially planned for a Delta IV launch,[382] it is SpaceX's first launch of an EELV-class payload.[383]
December 2018[348][384] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 Sparrow Moon lander[384]
Unspecified communications satellite[384]
Supersync GTO / Moon transfer SpaceIL / IAI
The Sparrow Moon lander was one of the candidates for the Google Lunar X-Prize, whose developers SpaceIL had secured a launch contract with SpaceX in October 2015.[385] The Israeli spacecraft will share the flight with a large communications satellite[384] launched on a supersynchronous transfer orbit[386] reaching an apogee of 60,000 km,[387] and raise its orbit from there by its own power[386] over two months.[384] It is scheduled to land on February 13, 2019.[384] Including fuel, the spacecraft has a total launch mass of 585 kg.[387]
December 2018[388] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 PSN-6[389] GTO PSN
Private Indonesian comsat planned to be placed at 146° E.[390]
December 2018–January 2019[391] Heavy[392][393] KSC LC-39A Arabsat-6A[394] GTO ArabSat
Construction of the Saudi satellite finished in April 2018.[395]
Q4 2018[348] F9 B5 VAFB SLC-4E SARah 1[396][397]
Co-passenger to be announced.[397]
SSO Federal Intelligence Service (Germany)
Phased-array-antenna satellite intended to upgrade the German SAR-Lupe surveillance satellites.[398]


Date and time (UTC) Version,
Launch site Payload Orbit Customer
February 1, 2019[349] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 SpaceX CRS-17[136] LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS)
March 2019[399] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 GPS IIIA-02[383] MEO U.S. Air Force
March 2019[400] F9 KSC LC-39A Crew Dragon in-flight abort test[401] Suborbital NASA (CCD)
A Falcon 9 first stage will propel the Dragon 2 test capsule in a sub-orbital flight to conduct a separation and abort scenario in the transonic regime at Max Q, i.e. under the worst structural stress conditions of a real flight.[402] The spacecraft will then splash down in the ocean with traditional parachutes. The test will be performed by the same capsule from the SpX-DM1 demonstration flight.[379]
April 2019[376] F9 B5[379] KSC LC-39A SpX-DM2[378] LEO (ISS) NASA (CCD)
Dragon 2 will carry its first crew of NASA astronauts on a 14-day mission to the ISS.
May 7, 2019[346] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 SpaceX CRS-18[136] LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS)
Q2 2019[403] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 AMOS-17[404] GTO Spacecom
The mission will reuse a previously flown booster,[405] and constitutes a free launch compensation provided to Spacecom following the loss of the AMOS-6 satellite.[406]
Q3 2019[348] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 ALINA Moon lander[407] Moon transfer PTScientists
The Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module (ALINA) will land near the Apollo 17 landing site and deploy two Audi lunar rovers. They will try to locate NASA's Lunar Roving Vehicle and stream images back to Earth using a small 4G base station on ALINA developed by Nokia and Vodafone Germany.[408][409]
October 2019[349] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 SpaceX CRS-19[136] LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS)
2019[348][410] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 GiSAT-1[411] GTO Global-IP
Comsat by Cayman Islands-based Global IP intended to serve 35 Sub-Saharan African countries.[411]
H2, 2019[412] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 JCSat-18 / Kacific 1 GTO JSAT
Singaporean-Japanese condosat will cover the Asia-Pacific region.[413]
2019[357] F9 B5 VAFB SLC-4E SAOCOM 1B[355], SAOCOM-CS[414], SARE-1B 1–4[415] SSO CONAE
2019[416] F9 B5 VAFB SLC-4E SARah 2/3[396][416] SSO Federal Intelligence Service (Germany)
2019[417] F9 B5 CC 39A or 40 SXM 7[345] GTO Sirius XM
2019[348] Heavy KSC LC-39A ViaSat-3 F1[418] GTO ViaSat


Date and time (UTC) Version,
Launch site Payload Orbit Customer
January 2020[349] F9 CC 39A or 40 SpaceX CRS-20 LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS)
Last mission part of the phase 1 of the CRS contract.
2020–2024[419][349] F9 CC 39A or 40 Six more missions under the CRS2 contract[419] LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS)
The initial Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract was extended to 20 missions. Under the CRS2 contract, NASA has awarded SpaceX six more cargo missions.[419] Those missions were originally scheduled to begin in 2019 but were delayed.
Likely from 2020[420] F9 B5 KSC 39A Six missions contracted under the ISS Crew Transportation Services program (CTS) LEO (ISS) NASA (CTS)[421]
Pending success of SpX-DM1 and SpX-DM2, NASA has awarded six missions with Dragon 2.0 to carry up to four astronauts and 220 pounds of cargo to the ISS as well as feature a lifeboat function to evacuate astronauts from ISS in case of an emergency.[421] In April 2018, NASA estimated that SpaceX will finish the certification milestone prerequisites for operational missions some time between August 2019 and November 2020, three months behind Boeing.[422]
March 2020[363] F9 CC 39A or 40 GPS IIIA-04[423] MEO U.S. Air Force
September 2020[424][425] Heavy KSC LC-39A AFSPC-52 Classified Air Force Space Command
November 2020[426] F9 VAFB SLC-4E[426] Jason-CS (Sentinel-6A)[426] LEO NASA
H2, 2020[405] F9 CC 39A or 40 AMOS-8 GTO Spacecom
2020[427] F9 SLC-40 KPLO Moon transfer KARI
South Korea's first lunar mission.[428]
2020[417] F9 CC 39A or 40 SXM 8[345] GTO Sirius XM
2020[429] F9 CC 39A or 40 or BC Türksat 5A GTO Türksat
April 2021[430] F9 VAFB SLC-4E[430] Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT)[430] LEO NASA
2021[431] F9 CC 39A or 40 or BC Türksat 5B GTO Türksat
2021[432] F9 VAFB SLC-4E WorldView Legion Mission 1[432] SSO DigitalGlobe
The mission will reuse a previously flown booster.[432]
2021[432] F9 VAFB SLC-4E WorldView Legion Mission 2[432] SSO DigitalGlobe
The mission will reuse a previously flown booster.[432]

Notable missions[edit]

Maiden launch of Falcon 9[edit]

Launch of Falcon 9 Flight 1 with a boilerplate Dragon

The Falcon 9 maiden launch occurred on June 4, 2010 and was deemed a success, placing the test payload within 1% of the intended orbit.[10] Ken Bowersox, Vice President of SpaceX, described the launch as having "a little bit of roll at liftoff".[433] The roll stopped before the craft reached the top of the tower, but the second stage unexpectedly began to roll slowly near the end of its burn.[10] The halo from the venting of propellant from the Falcon 9 second stage as it rolled in space could be seen from all of Eastern Australia where some believed it to be a UFO.[434][435]

COTS demo missions[edit]

The second launch of Falcon 9 was called COTS Demo Flight 1, aiming to test an operational Dragon capsule. The launch took place on December 8, 2010.[436] The booster placed the Dragon spacecraft in a roughly 300-kilometer (190 mi) orbit. After two orbits, the capsule re-entered the atmosphere to be recovered off the coast of Mexico.[437] This flight tested the pressure vessel integrity, attitude control using the Draco thrusters, telemetry, guidance, navigation, control systems, and the PICA-X heat shield, and intended to test the parachutes at speed. The "secret" test payload on this mission was a wheel of cheese.[13] The capsule is now permanently on display at SpaceX headquarters.[438]

Recovered Dragon capsule after it landed in the ocean following the COTS-1 mission

The NASA COTS qualification program included two more test flights; Demo 2 and Demo 3 whose objectives were combined into a single Dragon C2+ mission,[439] on the condition that all Demo 2 milestones would be validated in space before proceeding with the ultimate demonstration goal: berthing Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) and delivering its cargo. After clearing a few readiness delays and a launch abort, the Dragon capsule was propelled to orbit on May 22, 2012, and tested its positioning system, solar panels, grapple fixture and proximity navigation sensors. Over the next two days, the spacecraft performed a series of maneuvers to catch up to the ISS orbit and prove its rendezvous capabilities at safe distances. On May 24, all the Demo 2 milestones had been successfully cleared and NASA approved the extended mission. On May 25, Dragon performed a series of close approach maneuvers until reaching its final hold position a mere 9 meters (30 ft) away from the Harmony nadir docking port.[440] Astronaut Don Pettit subsequently grabbed the spacecraft with the station's robotic arm. On the next day, May 26 at 09:53 UTC, Pettit opened the hatch and remarked that Dragon "smells like a brand new car."[441] Over the next few days, ISS crew unloaded the incoming cargo and filled Dragon with Earth-bound items such as experiment samples and unneeded hardware. The spacecraft was released on May 31 at 09:49 UTC and successfully completed all the return procedures: unberthing, maneuvering away from the ISS, deorbit burn, trunk jettison, atmospheric reentry, parachute deployment, and ocean splashdown.[442] The Dragon C2+ capsule is now on display at Kennedy Space Center.[443]

With successful completion of these demo missions, Falcon 9 became the first fully commercially developed launcher to deliver a payload to the International Space Station, paving the way for SpaceX and NASA to sign the first Commercial Resupply Services agreement for 12 cargo deliveries starting in October 2012.[444]


Dragon CRS-1 berthed to the International Space Station (ISS) on October 14, 2012, photographed from the Cupola

The first operational cargo resupply mission to ISS, the fourth flight of Falcon 9, was launched on October 7, 2012. At 76 seconds after liftoff, engine 1 of the first stage suffered a loss of pressure which caused an automatic shutdown of that engine. The remaining eight first-stage engines continued to burn and the Dragon capsule reached orbit successfully. This was the first demonstration of the rocket's "engine out" capability in flight.[445][446] As per ISS visiting vehicle safety rules, the primary payload owner, NASA, was contractually allowed to decline a second reignition, and due to safety regulations required by NASA, the secondary Orbcomm-2 satellite payload was released into a lower-than-intended orbit.[25] Despite the incident, Orbcomm said they gathered useful test data from the mission and planned to send more satellites via SpaceX,[24] which happened in July 2014 and December 2015. The mission continued to rendezvous and berth the Dragon capsule with the ISS where the ISS crew unloaded its payload and reloaded the spacecraft with cargo for return to Earth.[447]

Maiden flight of v1.1[edit]

SpaceX launched the maiden flight of the Falcon 9 v1.1 (also termed Block 2[448])—an essentially new launch vehicle, much larger and with greater thrust than Falcon 9 v1.0—on September 29, 2013, a demonstration launch.[449] Although the rocket carried CASSIOPE as a primary payload, CASSIOPE had a payload mass that is very small relative to the rocket's capability, and it did so at a discounted rate—approximately 20% of the normal published price for SpaceX Falcon 9 LEO missions—because the flight was a technology demonstration mission for SpaceX.[450][451][30]

After the second stage separated from the booster stage, SpaceX conducted a novel high-altitude, high-velocity flight test, wherein the booster attempted to reenter the lower atmosphere in a controlled manner and decelerate to a simulated over-water landing. The test was successful, but the booster stage was not recovered.[30]

Loss of CRS-7 mission[edit]

SpaceX CRS-7 disintegrating two minutes after liftoff, as seen from a NASA tracking camera

On June 28, 2015, Falcon 9 Flight 19 carried a Dragon capsule on the seventh Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS. The second stage disintegrated due to an internal helium tank failure while the first stage was still burning normally. This was the first primary mission loss for any Falcon 9 rocket.[90] In addition to ISS consumables and experiments, this mission carried the first International Docking Adapter (IDA-1), whose loss delayed preparedness of the stations's US Orbital Segment for future crewed missions.[452]

Performance was nominal until T+140 seconds into launch when a cloud of white vapor appeared, followed by rapid loss of second-stage LOX tank pressure. The booster continued on its trajectory until complete vehicle breakup at T+150 seconds. The Dragon capsule was ejected from the disintegrating rocket and continued transmitting data until impact with the ocean. SpaceX officials stated that the capsule could have been recovered if the parachutes had deployed; however, the Dragon software did not include any provisions for parachute deployment in this situation.[92] Subsequent investigations traced the cause of the accident to the failure of a strut that secured a helium bottle inside the second-stage LOX tank. With the helium pressurization system integrity breached, excess helium quickly flooded the tank, eventually causing it to burst from overpressure.[453][454] NASA's independent accident investigation into the loss of SpaceX CRS-7 found that the failure of the strut which led to the breakup of the Falcon-9 represented a design error. Specifically, that industrial grade stainless steel had been used in a critical load path under cryogenic conditions and flight conditions, without additional part screening, and without regard to manufacturer recommendations.[455]

Full-thrust version and first booster landings[edit]

After pausing launches for months, SpaceX launched on December 22, 2015, the highly anticipated return-to-flight mission after the loss of CRS-7. This launch inaugurated a new Falcon 9 Full Thrust version (also initially termed Block 3[448]) of its flagship rocket featuring increased performance, notably thanks to subcooling of the propellants. After launching a constellation of 11 Orbcomm-OG2 second-generation satellites,[456] the first stage performed a controlled-descent and landing test for the eighth time, SpaceX attempted to land the booster on land for the first time. It managed to return the first stage successfully to the Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral, marking the first successful recovery of a rocket first stage that launched a payload to orbit.[457] After recovery, the first stage booster performed further ground tests and then was put on permanent display outside SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California.[94]

On April 8, 2016, SpaceX delivered its commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station marking the return-to-flight of the Dragon capsule, after the loss of CRS-7. After separation, the first-stage booster slowed itself with a boostback maneuver, re-entered the atmosphere, executed an automated controlled descent and landed vertically onto the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, marking the first successful landing of a rocket on a ship at sea.[458] This was the fourth attempt to land on a drone ship, as part of the company's experimental controlled-descent and landing tests.[459]

Loss of Amos-6 on the launch pad[edit]

On September 1, 2016, the 29th Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launchpad while propellant was being loaded for a routine pre-launch static fire test. The payload, Israeli satellite Amos-6, partly commissioned by Facebook, was destroyed with the launcher.[460] On 2 January 2017, SpaceX released an official statement indicating that the cause of the failure was a buckled liner in several of the COPV tanks, causing perforations that allowed liquid and/or solid oxygen to accumulate underneath the lining, which was ignited by friction.[144]

First launch of a refurbished first stage[edit]

On March 30, 2017, Flight 32 launched the SES-10 satellite with the first-stage booster B1021, which had been previously used for the CRS-8 mission a year earlier. The stage was successfully recovered a second time and was retired and put on display at Cape Canaveral.[461]


Zuma was a classified US government satellite and was developed and built by Northrop Grumman at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion.[462] Its launch, originally planned for mid-November 2017, was postponed to January 2018 as fairing tests for another SpaceX customer were assessed. Following a successful Falcon 9 launch, the first-stage booster landed at LZ-1.[230] Unconfirmed reports suggested that the Zuma spacecraft was lost,[231] with claims that either the payload failed following orbital release, or that the customer-provided adapter failed to release the satellite from the upper stage, while other claims argued that Zuma was in orbit and operating covertly.[231] SpaceX's COO Gwynne Shotwell stated that their Falcon 9 "did everything correctly" and that "Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false."[231] A preliminary report indicated that the payload adapter, modified by Northrop Grumman after purchasing it from a subcontractor, failed to separate the satellite from the second stage under the zero gravity conditions.[463][462] Due to the classified nature of the mission, little official confirmation is expected.[231]

Falcon Heavy test flight[edit]

Liftoff of Falcon Heavy on its maiden flight(left) and its two side-boosters landing at LZ-1 and LZ-2 a few minutes later (right)

The maiden launch of the Falcon Heavy occurred on February 6, 2018, marking the launch of the most powerful rocket since the Energia, with a payload capacity to low Earth orbit more than double the ULA's Delta IV Heavy.[464][465] Both side boosters landed successfully, and nearly simultaneously after a ten-minute flight. The attempted landing of the central core on a floating platform at sea was not successful.[246] The rocket carried a car and a mannequin to a heliocentric orbit that will cross the orbit of Mars.[466]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Telstar 19V satellite was heavier, but launched into a sub-GTO orbit achieving a lower apogee.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Falcon 9 first-stage boosters are designated with a construction serial number and an optional flight number when reused, e.g. B1021.1 and B1021.2 represent the two flights of booster B1021. Launches using reused boosters are denoted with a recycled symbol ♺.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g A controlled "ocean landing" denotes a controlled atmospheric entry, descent and vertical splashdown on the ocean's surface at near zero velocity, for the sole purpose of gathering test data; such boosters were destroyed at sea.
  4. ^ Since it was a pre-flight test, SpaceX does not count this scheduled attempt in their launch totals. Some sources do consider this planned flight into the counting schemes, and as a result, some sources might list launch totals after 2016 with one additional launch.
  5. ^ On behalf of an unspecified US government agency.
  6. ^ Payload comprises five Iridium satellites weighing 860 kg each,[309] two GRACE-FO satellites weighing 580 kg each,[310] plus a 1,000-kg dispenser.[153]


  1. ^ "Falcon 9 Overview". SpaceX. May 8, 2010. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Simberg, Rand (February 8, 2012). "Elon Musk on SpaceX's Reusable Rocket Plans". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved November 2, 2017. 
  3. ^ Wall, Mike (December 21, 2015). "Wow! SpaceX Lands Orbital Rocket Successfully in Historic First". Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
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