Falcon 9

First Orbital Class Rocket Capable of Reflight

Falcon 9 is a reusable, two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of people and payloads into Earth orbit and beyond. Falcon 9 is the world’s first orbital class reusable rocket. Reusability allows SpaceX to refly the most expensive parts of the rocket, which in turn drives down the cost of space access.

Falcon 9


HEIGHT 70 m / 229.6 ft
DIAMETER 3.7 m / 12 ft
MASS 549,054 kg / 1,207,920 lb
PAYLOAD TO LEO 22,800 kg / 50,265 lb
PAYLOAD TO GTO 8,300 kg / 18,300 lb
PAYLOAD TO MARS 4,020 kg / 8,860 lb

Falcon 9

First stage

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Falcon 9’s first stage incorporates nine Merlin engines and aluminum-lithium alloy tanks containing liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) propellant.

Falcon 9 generates more than 1.7 million pounds of thrust at sea level.

Falcon 9


The interstage is a composite structure that connects the first and second stages, and houses the pneumatic pushers that allow the first and second stage to separate during flight.

Grid fins

Falcon 9 is equipped with four hypersonic grid fins positioned at the base of the interstage. They orient the rocket during reentry by moving the center of pressure.

Falcon 9

Second Stage

The second stage, powered by a single Merlin Vacuum Engine, delivers Falcon 9’s payload to the desired orbit. The second stage engine ignites a few seconds after stage separation, and can be restarted multiple times to place multiple payloads into different orbits.

BURN TIME 397 sec
THRUST 981 kN / 220,500 lbf

Falcon 9



Made of a carbon composite material, the fairing protects satellites on their way to orbit. The fairing is jettisoned approximately 3 minutes into flight, and SpaceX continues to recover fairings for reuse on future missions.

HEIGHT 13.1 m / 43 ft
DIAMETER 5.2 m / 17.1 ft


Falcon 9 In Flight




Merlin is a family of rocket engines developed by SpaceX for use on its Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles. Merlin engines use a rocket grade kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen as rocket propellants in a gas-generator power cycle. The Merlin engine was originally designed for recovery and reuse.

THRUST 845 kN / 190,000 lbf
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