SpaceX: Elon Musk Shares Falcon 9 Image That Highlights Its True Size
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is impressive, but based on launch photos it can be hard to get a sense of the true scale of the craft. On Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk shared an image that shows himself alongside three figures, standing next to a freshly-landed Falcon 9. The image gives a clear indication of how the craft appears in real life.
Musk shared the image below with the caption “At Falcon LZ-1 Vandenberg on Sunday night with the Base Commander. Support of [United States Air Force] much appreciated.” The image was taken just after Sunday’s launch, which saw the SAOCOM 1A satellite sent up from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, before the first stage booster landed on the firm’s brand new west coast landing pad. The whole craft measures 229.6 feet tall, with a 12-foot diameter. The composite fairing, which houses the satellite entering orbit, measures 43 feet with a 17-foot diameter.
The image also helps give a sense of the size of the Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket that undertook its inaugural test flight in February by sending up Musk’s Tesla Roadster into orbit. The Heavy was built with the starting point of strapping three Falcon 9 cores together, meaning that its diameter is 40 feet but its height remains the same as the Falcon 9.
It’s impressive, but the best is still to come. Musk shared a video back in June from YouTube channel Corridor Crew, which demonstrated the size of the upcoming BFR in relation to landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. The rocket is set to be the company’s largest ever, standing at 348 feet tall with a total mass of 9.7 million pounds and a diameter of 30 feet.
SpaceX’s next launch is the Es’hail 2 mission sometime in the fourth quarter of this year, delayed back from August. The mission currently has no firm launch date, but it’s expected to launch from the Cape Canaveral pad in Florida. The satellite will provide internet and television services for Qatar and surrounding countries.
Sometime next year, the BFR is set to complete its first hop tests to pave the way for a mission to Mars.