Space Exploration Technologies Corporation better known as SpaceX was founded just 15 years ago by Elon Musk, the world famous entrepreneur and genius behind other notable ventures such as Tesla Motors, Solar City and others. The aerospace manufacturer and space transport company was started with modest goals such as reducing space transportation cost and enabling the colonization of Mars.
SpaceX has developed the Falcon launch vehicle family and the Dragon spacecraft family. Using these vehicles SpaceX has achieved things which just twenty years ago most people would not have thought possible for a private company. The Falcon launch vehicles are propelled by Merlin rocket engines which is a family of engines developed by SpaceX. The Merlin engine uses RP-1 and liquid oxygen as rocket propellants in a gas-generator cycle.
RP-1 which is also known either as Rocket Propellant-1, or Refined Petroleum-1, is a form of highly refined kerosene which bears a strong similarity to jet fuel. RP-1 has a lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen but is cheaper to produce, far more stable at room temperature, and far denser which makes it significantly more powerful by volume than liquid hydrogen. RP-1 is most commonly burned using liquid oxygen as an oxidizer.
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