Joey Robertson SHE Physics Task 2018
How can we apply the technology and concepts used in Falcon 9 to other scientific fields and everyday life?
SpaceX, an Elon Musk space technologies corporation focused on the future, with the goal of reducing space transportation costs. With a long term plan of colonising Mars, they need to be able to be cost-effective and sustainable whilst still being of the highest standard. SpaceX and in particular Falcon 9 have had success in using modern technologies to improve the field of space exploration and other scientific fields and this article should explain how they have done so and what impact this has had on today’s society.
Falcon 9 is the most famous of SpaceX’s rockets, renowned for its longevity and reliability. Falcon 9 has had continued to be successful in each of its many missions not once failing to have a successful launch. This can be partly credited to its advanced launch and flight procedure.
The first stage incorporates nine Merlin engines and aluminium-lithium alloy tanks containing liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene propellant. After ignition, a hold-before-release system ensures that all engines are verified for full-thrust performance before the rocket is released for flight. Once all engines have been verified for full-thrust performance, the nine Merlin engines launch the rocket to space, using thrust greater than five Boeing 747’s at full thrust. Unlike aircraft, the Falcon 9’s thrust increases with altitude, as an increase in thrust is required to launch the rocket against the force of gravity. Near the end of the first stage the engines are gradually throttled as the mass of Falcon 9 decreases with the burning of fuel. It takes a total of approximately 162 seconds for the first stage to complete, using the Merlin engines but remarkably Falcon 9 can still successfully launch with the failure of up to two engines.
The second stage of flight using much less thrust and fuel but is still equally as impressive, powered by a single Merlin vacuum engine, delivering the payload to the desired orbit. The engine ignites several seconds after stage separation, powered by liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene propellant, modified for the vacuum of space.
The second reason why Falcon 9 is so successful and reliable is its structure and each separate part of the rocket, contributing to the success of each mission, and future missions.
The Falcon 9 is split into separate parts, these being; The Dragon Spacecraft or Payload at the top, then below this the Dragon Trunk, the grid fins in the middle of Falcon 9, then there is the Falcon 9 structure, near the base of this structure are landing legs and at the very base of Falcon 9 are nine Merlin Engines, designing for the initial launch of the spacecraft.
Dragon Spacecraft/Payload - The Dragon spacecraft or Payload is fully autonomous and is designed to...