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Gwynne says SpaceX currently flying Falcon Block 3, Block 4 soon, then 5

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by ecarfan, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    In the Space Show radio program broadcast on 7/22/2017 at Gwynne Shotwell said that SpaceX is currently flying Falcon 9 Block 3, Block 4 coming soon, then 5 which will be the final iteration of the F9.

    SpaceX is currently building F9s at a rate of 20/year. And it takes a little over a year to build a Falcon 9 from start to finish.
    • Informative x 4
  2. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

    Aug 24, 2012
    Boston North Shore
    Presumably at some point soon they'll have all the F9s they'll need as reuse becomes the norm. To be sure, they'll still need a few expendables for heavy payloads, but hopefully, they'll have some kind of heavier launcher done by the time they run out of cores.
  3. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

    Jan 31, 2012
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    #3 Grendal, Jun 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
    The Block 4 improvements will be more of a fluid change. The titanium grid fins that were on this last launch are a Block 4 improvement.

    I liked how she mentioned that the current Merlin D's have been cranked up to 240K lbs of thrust (the first Merlin was 70K lbs of thrust) on the test stand. Block 5s are an improvement over that...

    It's a bit off topic but it will be interesting to see how this will change production. If recovery becomes the norm and you have the Block 5 improvement and the stages can be reused 10 to 12 times before refurbishment then within a couple years you'll have a fleet of Falcon 9s and you won't be needing 20 of them a year. Falcon Heavy is even more rarely needed, for now. So I would guess at 2020 to 2021 that it could become an issue. Maybe they'll be focused on BFR/BFS by that time and only half the workforce will be needed for Falcon 9/H upkeep.
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