Sun, Mar 14, 2010
Falcon 9 Test Was Delayed After An Abort On Tuesday
Today, SpaceX announced a
successfully test firing of the inaugural Falcon 9 launch
vehicle at Space Launch Complex 40 located at Cape Canaveral,
FL. SpaceX is one of two commercial companies selected to
receive NASA funding in support of cargo flights to the
International Space Station.
Following a nominal terminal countdown, the launch sequencer
commanded ignition of all 9 Merlin first stage engines for a period
of 3.5 seconds. This short test firing is enough time to
verify systems on the ground and in the launch vehicle are
completely ready for an actual launch.
Earlier in the week, the test was aborted due to an anomoly in
the ground systems supporting the rocket. A software glitch
was discovered and corrected.
Just prior to engine ignition, the pad water deluge system was
activated providing acoustic suppression to keep vibration levels
within acceptable limits. The test validated the launch pad
propellant and pneumatic systems as well as the ground and flight
control software that controls pad and launch vehicle
File Photo of Falcon 9 at Complex 40
"This is analogistic to a run-up an aircraft might do on the
runway to verify all systems are functional," SpaceX founder and
CEO Elon Musk remarked in a recent interview. "That gives the
rocket a nice final shakedown. We will then double-check everything
to make sure everything's OK after that short static fire. If it's
looking good, then we launch soon thereafter."
The completion of a successful static fire is the latest
milestone on the path to first flight of the Falcon 9 which will
carry a Dragon spacecraft qualification unit to orbit. SpaceX
must fly their cargo module successfully before being allowed to
attempt a docking with the space station.
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