Fri, Feb 12, 2010
Preparations Continue For Inaugural Launch
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) says that all of the
flight hardware for the debut launch of the Falcon 9 vehicle has
arrived at the SpaceX launch site, Space Launch Complex 40
(SLC-40), in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Final delivery included the Falcon 9 second stage, which
recently completed testing at SpaceX's test facility in McGregor,
Texas. SpaceX has now initiated full vehicle integration of the 47
meter (154 feet) tall, 3.6 meter (12 feet) diameter rocket, which
will include a Dragon spacecraft qualification unit.
"We expect to launch in one to three months after completing
full vehicle integration," said Brian Mosdell, Director of Florida
Launch Operations for SpaceX. "Our primary objective is a
successful first launch and we are taking whatever time necessary
to work through the data to our satisfaction before moving
Following full vehicle integration, SpaceX will conduct a static
firing to demonstrate flight readiness and confirm operation of
ground control systems in preparation for actual launch.
Though designed from the beginning to transport crew, SpaceX's
Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft will initially be
used to transport cargo. Falcon 9 and Dragon were selected by NASA
to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) once Shuttle
retires. The $1.6B contract represents 12 flights for a minimum of
20 tons to and from the ISS with the first demonstration flights
beginning in 2010.
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