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SpaceX plans first Falcon 9 "Block 5" launch

SpaceX plans first Falcon 9

Although the ability to carry out two orbital launches with the same Block 5 Falcon 9 is within reach for SpaceX, Elon Musk has stressed that the process will be far from easy. The leading engineering minds at SpaceX have actually struggled over this ... The Merlin engines on that very first variation had 95,000 pounds of thrust for each first-stage engine and 92,500 pounds of thrust for the second-stage engine. This launch will be flown by the first "Block 5" booster, the 7th and final iteration of the Falcon 9. "The key to Block 5 is that it's created to do 10 or more flights with no refurbishment between each flight".

According to Musk's tweets, SpaceX will probably "build 30 to 40 rocket cores" for the Falcon 9 Block 5 to cover about 300 missions over the next five years. All this will allow the first stage booster to fly at least 10 times without refurbishment and up to 100 total flights in its lifespan with refurbishment.

As stated ever since last year, SpaceX plans to achieve a 24-hour turnaround window for used Falcon 9 rockets as soon as this year. Previous launches of the previous version of the first stage took months to recover, and the Block 5 is not yet at its full potential.

Falcon 9's octaweb structure that supports the all nine first stage engines is now a bolted structure instead of welded, easing manufacturing and inspections.

Starting with version Block 5 design, the Falcon 9 will be frozen, and SpaceX will focus on the completion of the development of manned spacecraft Dragon 2 and the creation of super-heavy launch BFR.

While Musk's ultimate goal is a rapid turnaround for the Falcon 9, the technology isn't quite there yet.

"Because there's only so much work you could even do in one day, and a bunch of it consists of transporting the rocket from its landing site back to the launch site, mounting a new satellite on the rocket and loading propellant". The Falcon 9 formerly used aluminum fins for steering the Falcon 9 first point back to Earth, but SpaceX shifted those around the Block 3 into titanium following the aluminum fins caught fire through reentry.

"It's really better in every way than the Block 4", Musk said.

He highlighted that any more modifications would be little. SpaceX includes a contingency layout that would entail shifting from high-strength carbon fiber using an aluminum lining into the superalloy Inconel, but this is "unlikely to become mandatory", Musk said. "We intend to stabilize on the Block 5 platform and have no major upgrades".

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