Encyclopedia Astronautica
Merlin 1C

SpaceX Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 614.7 kN. First stages. Hardware. Isp=304s. Regeneratively cooled; turbo-pump also provided high pressure kerosene for the hydraulic actuators. Actuated turbine exhaust nozzle provided roll control. First flight 2008.

The Merlin 1C, was developed for the Falcon 9 and would also be used in the stretched Falcon 1e first stage from 2010. It differed from the Merlin 1A in that high pressure kerosene fuel flowed through the walls of the combustion chamber and exhaust nozzle before being injected into the combustions chamber. This provided significant cooling, permitting the engine to operate at a higher level of performance. The turbo-pump also provided the high pressure kerosene for the hydraulic actuators, eliminating the need for a separate hydraulic power system. Additionally, actuating the turbine exhaust nozzle provided roll control during flight. Combining these three functions into one device, and verifying its operation before the vehicle was allowed to lift off, provided significant improvement in system-level reliability.

Application: First stages.


Thrust (sl): 555.900 kN (124,971 lbf). Propellant Formulation: Lox/RP-1.

Status: Hardware.
Thrust: 614.70 kN (138,190 lbf).
Specific impulse: 304 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 275 s.
Burn time: 169 s.
First Launch: 2006-2009.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • SpaceX American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. SpaceX, USA. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

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