Huge overview of the SpaceX's development of the next rocket, the Falcon 9

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

An artist's concept of a Falcon 9 rocket launch. Credit: NASA

For a detailed look at what exactly is happening with the development of SpaceX's Falcon 9, you probably can't get much better info than that found here at Here are some interesting parts of the article:

Average engineer age at the company:

SpaceX's team of 60 engineers and technicians in McGregor first tested the run tank with one engine late last year. Workers gradually added more engines during a series of tests this spring.

The average SpaceX engineer in McGregor is less than 30 years old, not far off the company-wide number.

"That means that they're able to work really long hours," Dreyer said.

Future plans and hiring:

SpaceX plans to hire at least 25 more employees at McGregor in the next six months. The 300-acre site will stay busy for the foreseeable future with qualification and acceptance testing once the Falcon 9 becomes operational.

The company's expected flight rate would require engineers to churn out about 50 engines per year.

On the effect the successful Falcon 1 flight has had on Falcon 9 development:

That first launch, originally on the books as an unsigned demonstration flight, now has a paying customer. But SpaceX officials aren't disclosing the payload yet.

"A lot of Falcon 9 contracts that there were in negotiations were predicated on just getting Falcon 1 to orbit," Musk said.

The successful launch of SpaceX's smaller Falcon 1 booster in late September will allow the company to accelerate the final steps of Falcon 9 development, officials said.

"We can now take some of that staff from Falcon 1 to focus on Falcon 9," said Diane Murphy, SpaceX's vice president of communications.

And a ton of other information. Be sure to read the whole thing or bookmark it for later. No more election fever for the time being so perhaps subjects like this will get a bit more press over the next while along with general economic issues.


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