SpaceX working towards a major milestone on their road to rapid and inexpensive reusability. The first Block 5 Falcon 9 first stage is on the test stand at their McGregor, Texas test facility as it prepares for a test fire. The booster – core 1046 – was first seen on Interstate 8 in Yuma, Arizona, being transported from the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California to their McGregor test site. It is now standing tall on the test stand ahead of a Static Fire this week.
The Evolution of the Falcon 9:
Ever since its debut in 2010, SpaceX’s workhorse rocket – the Falcon 9 – has had many major upgrades to its systems, most notably to its fuel tanks and engines.
On its debut, the Falcon 9 looked much different than it does today. The most noticeable differences are that its engines were arranged in a 3×3 grid pattern, and its tanks were much shorter than those on today’s Falcon 9. It used nine Merlin 1C engines – their design borrowed and slightly modified from SpaceX’s early Falcon 1 – on the first stage, and one vacuum-optimized Merlin 1C engine on its second stage.
This so-called Version 1.0 ...