5
$\begingroup$

SpaceX has had 8 successful launches in 2016 according to a wikipedia article. The launch manifest agrees with that, but leaves out the launch pad failure.

According to another wikipedia article, they are producing around 200 engines per year:

By June 2015, SpaceX was producing Merlin engines at the rate of four Merlin 1D engines per week, with a total production capacity in the factory of a maximum of five per week.

9 launches gives 90 engines (9+1 per flight), if I am not mistaken. That leaves 110 unused. There are also 45 recovered engines. In principle, SpaceX has a stockpile of Merlin engines for at least 11 launches, so what are they doing with all these Merlins?

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

... are producing at the RATE of four Merlin 1D engines per week.

That is the key. They have had two stand downs due to loss of vehicles (CRS-7 in flight, AMOS-6 during a test). During that time, they can stop production, when it is clear they have a 3-6 months recovery ahead of themselves. Or else they can assume they will recover next week, continue at the 4/week build rate and only once it is clear their stores are full, pause production.

It is clear that SpaceX has decided that they need modifications to the basic Falcon 9 design for easier, better, faster, cheaper reuse after recovering a bunch of stages. The initial engines recovered first were used for tests. One core is on display with 9 engines at the Hawthorne factory.

One of the cores was fired multiple times at the McGregor test site (JCSAT-14 mission).

One of the cores is being rebuilt into one of the Falcon Heavy demo flight's side boosters. (Thaicomm-8 mission).

One is being reused as a launch vehicle for SES-10 satellite (CRS-8 mission).

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.