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SpaceX Falcon 9 Densified propellant?

asked 2016-05-06 08:39:42 -0600

Pascal Le Dramont gravatar image

updated 2016-05-06 09:12:36 -0600

Rob Mueller gravatar image

One of the tricks Space X used to enhance the performance of the Falcon 9 was to use densified propellants - how does this work?

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answered 2016-05-06 08:45:01 -0600

Rob Mueller gravatar image

updated 2016-05-06 09:11:44 -0600

By chilling the propellants (liquid oxygen and RP-1 kerosene) to lower temperatures (without freezing them) the density can be increased by about 9.9% for LO2 and 2.6% for RP-1. Even though this does not seem like a lot, with large masses, the volume change can be significant. The bottom line is that by densifying propellants, more can be carried in existing rocket tanks so that the rocket can increase it's flight performance capability. Most cryogenic rocket engines also run better at colder temperatures.

The extra performance has also helped enabled the landing of the first stage on a barge in the Atlantic ocean during propellant intensive launches to geosynchronous orbits.

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Asked: 2016-05-06 08:39:42 -0600

Seen: 115 times

Last updated: May 06 '16