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4

In addition to the factors already mentioned: The Falcon operates in a very different economic model than anything that has come before. Look at the electronics industry for a comparison, specifically the term "bleeding edge". You pay through the nose for the best performance. SpaceX took this lesson to heart in the design of the Falcon--they ...


4

Because in 2002 there were no existing methane engines they could use or copy (at least none suitable for a booster). SpaceX didn't have the time or money to develop a whole new engine using a whole new fuel from the ground up. Instead, they based the Merlin 1-A off of NASA's existing Fastrac design, which was a kerolox gas generator. Initial raptor ...


5

The first methalox engine I've been able to find, the RS-18, was developed two years after the first flight of Falcon 1 and the Merlin engine. In contrast, RP-1 had a half-century of development history behind it, and hundreds of engine designs that used it. SpaceX is, first and foremost, a business. Going with a proven technology for your first product is ...


20

SpaceX chose to use RP-1 because the development path for a good RP1 engine was a full decade shorter! Plus many other factors favoring KeroLox for launch from Earth surface, for example the very high energy density of RP-1 allows smaller tankage, which is a great advantage when flying through the atmosphere. The Excellent thrust density of RP-1 also allows ...


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