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SpaceX's Merlin 1D static test

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For you space junkies, heres a good read on a company that is the first privatly owned to deliver goods to the ISS.

And you thought your cummins had power?:ok:

SpaceX’s Merlin 1D Engine Achieves Full Mission Duration Firing

Hawthorne, CA – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces that its Merlin 1D engine has achieved a full mission duration firing and multiple restarts at target thrust and specific impulse (Isp).

The engine firing was for 185 seconds with 147,000 pounds of thrust, the full duration and power required for a Falcon 9 rocket launch. The tests took place at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

"This is another important milestone in our efforts to push the boundaries of space technology,†said SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk. “With the Merlin 1D powering the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, SpaceX will be capable of carrying a full range of payloads to orbit.â€

Watch the Merlin 1D full duration firing video here: http://youtu.be/976LHTpnZkY

The Merlin 1D builds on the proven technology of the Merlin engines used on the first three flights of Falcon 9, including the recent historic mission to the International Space Station.

With nine Merlins on the first stage, the Falcon 9 rocket will produce nearly 1.5 million pounds of thrust in a vacuum. An enhanced design makes the Merlin 1D the most efficient booster engine ever built, with a vacuum thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 150, while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts.

Additionally, as SpaceX continues to fulfill an extensive manifest of launches, the new engine is designed for improved manufacturability by using higher efficiency processes, increased robotic construction and reduced parts count.

The Merlin 1D engines will first see flight on Falcon 9 Flight 6, expected to launch in 2013.


Merlin 1D

The Merlin 1D is currently in development, and was originally (April 2011) designed for a sea level thrust of 620 kN (140,000 lbf).[24] At the 2011 AIAA Propulsion Conference, SpaceX's Tom Mueller[25] revealed that the engine would have a vacuum thrust of 690 kN (155,000 lbf), a vacuum specific impulse (Isp) of 310 s, an increased expansion ratio of 16 (as opposed to the previous 14.5 of the Merlin 1C) and chamber pressure in the "sweet spot" of 9.7 MPa (1,410 psi). A new feature for the engine is the ability to throttle from 100% to 70%.[22] The engine's 160:1 thrust-to-weight ratio would be the highest ever achieved for a rocket engine.[23]

The first flight of the Falcon 9 with Merlin 1D engines will be an "800 pounds (360 kg) weather research and communications satellite, launched into a highly elliptical low Earth orbit (LEO) for the Canadian Space Agency." The second flight will be a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) launch in early 2013.[26]

Merlin Vacuum (1D)

A vacuum version of the Merlin 1D engine is planned for the Falcon Heavy second stage.

Conceptual future engines

Merlin 2

At the AIAA Joint Propulsion conference on July 30, 2010 SpaceX McGregor rocket development facility director Tom Markusic shared some information from the initial stages of planning for a new engine. SpaceX’s Merlin 2 LOX/RP-1-fueled engine, capable of a projected 7,600 kN (1,700,000 lbf) of thrust at sea level and 8,500 kN (1,920,000 lbf) in a vacuum and would provide the power for conceptual super-heavy-lift launch vehicles from SpaceX, which Markusic dubbed Falcon X and Falcon XX. Such a capability would result in an engine with more thrust than the F-1 engines used on the Saturn V.[28]

Slated to be introduced on more capable variants of the Falcon 9 Heavy, the Merlin 2 "could be qualified in three years for $1 billion", Markusic says.[29] By mid-August, the SpaceX CEO Elon Musk clarified that while the Merlin 2 engine architecture was a key element of any effort SpaceX would make toward their objective of "super-heavy lift" launch vehicles—and that SpaceX did indeed want to "move toward super heavy lift"—the specific potential design configurations of the particular launch vehicles shown by Markusic at the propulsion conference were merely conceptual "brainstorming ideas", just a "bunch of ideas for discussion."[30]

As of March 2012, news accounts assert that the Merlin 2 engine program is underway, but that details are not being publicly released.

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