Falcon 9 & Falcon Heavy Performance Data

A Falcon 9 booster lands atop the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship after successfully dispatching a payload towards orbit - Photo: SpaceX

NASA's Launch Services Program published updated performance data for SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, providing insight into performance penalties imposed by the company's re-use aspirations. Numbers for Falcon 9 are available for all types of orbits starting 400 Kilometers in altitude while data on Falcon Heavy's performance is available for high-energy trajectories only.

Under NASA's NLS contract, SpaceX submitted two performance levels for the Falcon 9 Full Thrust Vehicle including performance holdbacks to allow for a Return-to-Launch-Site (RTLS) first stage recovery and Automated Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) recovery. Based on data released directly by SpaceX, an ASDS landing comes with a performance penalty of 30 to 35% while a land-based recovery (RTLS) requires approximately half the rocket's performance. Preliminary performance data for Falcon Heavy indicates a penalty of approximately 55% when recovering the vehicle's cores.

Falcon 9 Performance Data

Destination Falcon 9, RTLS Falcon 9, ASDS Falcon 9, Expendable
LEO - 200km, 28.5° 22,800kg*
LEO - 400km, 28.5° 11,660kg 15,520kg
ISS - 400km, 51.6° 10,860kg 14,460kg
SSO - 500km 8,630kg 11,740kg
SSO - 700km 7,960kg 11,030kg
GTO - 35,786km, 27° 3,490kg 5,450kg 8,300kg*
GTO - 2000km Perigee 2,375kg 4,055kg
SSTO - 65,000km, 27° 2,770kg 4,605kg
Mars 4,020kg*
Mars - 4.3km2/sec2 1,385kg 2,840kg

Falcon Heavy Performance Data

Destination Falcon Heavy, Recovery Falcon Heavy, Expendable
LEO - 200km, 28.5° 54,400kg*
GTO - 35,786km, 27° 8,000kg* 22,200kg*
Mars 13,600kg*
Mars - 4.3km2/sec2 5,160kg 11,320kg

*Performance Data provided through SpaceX Website


All Images: NASA Launch Services Program