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FALCON 9 PROGRESS UPDATE
The picture below shows us test fitting the Falcon 9 second stage tank assembly onto the big 5.2 meter diameter fairing. The F9 second stage is simply a shorter version of the first stage, and uses most of the same tooling, material and manufacturing techniques. The Merlin Vacuum engine assembly will attach to the round opening on the dome. The Merlin Vacuum engine is similar to the Merlin 1C engine used in the first stage, but has a larger vacuum nozzle for efficiency.
Test fitting the Falcon 9 second stage tank assembly onto the big 5.2 meter diameter fairing
The silver “fittings” at the top of the carbon composite interstage (shown below) attach to the second stage and fit into the nine release system brackets, equally spaced around the top edge. Three long pusher assemblies will be installed into the long slots, also equally spaced around the top edge. After the first stage engines shut down, the pushers impart an all-important impulse to separate the stages before the second stage engine ignites.
F9 interstage with fittings and release system brackets