SpaceX's new engine, the Merlin 1D, has been qualified for spaceflight in advance of its first launch. The engine, a heavily modified version of the Merlin 1C that powers SpaceX's standard Falcon 9, will be utilised on what SpaceX dubs the "Falcon 9 version 1.1", scheduled for its first launch in June. The Merlin series uses rocket propellant (RP-1) and liquid oxygen. The Falcon 9.1.1 will be able to launch 25.8% more payload to low earth orbit than the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9.1.1 will reduce the price to LEO to $4109 per kilogram ($1870 per pound).
The Spacex Falcon Heavy will also use the Merlin 1D and will bring costs down below $1000 per pound to LEO.
Full success with reusable rockets would bring costs down by 100 times.
The Merlin 1D puts out 147,000lb (654kN) of thrust to the 1C's 110,000lb. Nine of the engines power the first stage, and a single vacuum-capable engine powers the upper stage.
Chart adapted form exrocketman.
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