After making its much-awaited return to the skies after the unfortunate Falcon 9 blast, SpaceX now plans to reach its fastest launch rate by launching rockets every two weeks. And the private space company already has its first mission lined up for February 18, when it will fly the Dragon capsule to the International Space Station with a ton of supplies and equipment.
In preparation for the same, SpaceX has today successfully conducted the static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket booster. The said test firing is conducted when the rocket is clamped down to the launchpad and all engines are simultaneously switched on to check for any irregularities. This time around all nine Merlin-1D engines were working completely fine, with no leaks and extreme temperature differences between the Oxygen and Helium tanks.
But, the highlight of this test firing was not that all of SpaceX’s rocket systems were working in top-notch condition (which is just great). The upcoming launch is most notable as this would be the company’s first lift off from the Complex-39A launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It holds a significant position in the history of space expeditions as this launchpad was used for all of the crewed Apollo missions except for Apollo 10. It was the launchpad used for some of the most memorable and noticeable space missions.
First static fire test of Falcon 9 at historic launch complex 39A completed in advance of Dragon’s upcoming mission to the @Space_Station.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 12, 2017
SpaceX had always intended to use Complex-39A for its Falcon 9 Heavy and Dragon capsule mission, with the first flight being the delivery of the commercial EchoStar satellite into orbit. But, the said launch had to be pushed back due to the aforementioned blast that caused the launchpad heavy damages. This pushed the company to expedite its refurbishment efforts for the launch complex, which now seems to be completely ready for the upcoming mission.
Now, after the successful test fire, SpaceX has been given green light to move forward with its scheduled February 18 launch of the Dragon capsule. The company is now also gearing up to move beyond its current rocket propulsion systems and debut its heavy-lift Falcon Heavy rocket with a launch from Complex-39A this year. The expedited and regular launch schedule will enable SpaceX to gain momentum and experience for its end goal — Mars.
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