Rocket developer Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is considering a Saturn V-class engine as it plans the maiden flight of its 92,000lb-thrust (409kN) Merlin 1C Block 1 engine on the next Falcon 1 launch. The Saturn V's first stage had five Rocketdyne F-1 engines, each producing 1.5 million lb of sea-level thrust.

First flight is planned for the third quarter, on the third flight attempt for the Falcon 1. SpaceX, meanwhile, will continue developing its 102,000lb-thrust Block 2 engine for flights in 18 months time.

SpaceX will initially use the Block 1 for the first stage of its heavylift Falcon, which will use nine engines. The company has a multiple first-stage engine test planned for the middle of this year. "If we do a larger engine it would be in the Saturn V F-1 engine class," says chief executive Elon Musk.

Source: Flight International