Does SpaceX disclose what improvements their Falcon 9 Block 5 will have over the Block 4 model? If so, what improved features will it have?

I have heard general comments about it in the news, but I am unaware if they provide any technical details.

  • $\begingroup$ The general comments in the news are the only details SpaceX have published. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 6:11
  • $\begingroup$ Great post, isn't there a specially designed heat shield as well protecting the Dragon capsule from the lower fuel tanks? $\endgroup$ Commented May 11, 2018 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


This article provides great summary of Falcon 9 evolution, including changes in the Block 5 version.

In short (from this article):

  • Black interstage, landing legs, and raceway
  • Retractable landing legs
  • Redesigned composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) which hold helium – Both to account for Amos-6 disaster and to handle many reuses
  • Redesigned turbopumps. – NASA required SpaceX to redesign its Merlin turbopumps for crew rating after recaptured units showed stress cracks in the turbopump blades
  • Other general Merlin engine improvements – Thrust increased to 190,000lbf
  • Redesign and requalification of active components – Valves for “longer duration and higher levels”
  • Redesign of octaweb thrust structure – Bolted rather than welded
  • Optimized for reusability – Can refly a dozen or so times with inspections and up to 100 flights with refurbishments.
  • “Aiming for two flights within 24 hours”
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Clarified COPV acronym $\endgroup$ Commented May 3, 2018 at 13:25

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