Falcon 9 successfully completes static fire in lead up to CRS-7 Dragon flight
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX ) successfully completed a static test fire of their Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket at 4 p.m. EDT (20:00 GMT). The test was conducted in preparation for a planned Sunday, June 28, 10:21 a.m. EDT liftoff. The Falcon 9 is set to hoist a Dragon cargo vessel filled with approximately 4,000 lbs of cargo to the International Space Station. If everything continues to proceed according to schedule, the flight could mark a turning point in terms of the expense of sending payloads to orbit.
With weather predictions promising a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions for launch, SpaceX is planning on having the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster and its nine Merlin 1D engines land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship. This vessel will be placed some 300 miles off the Coast of Jacksonville, Florida, and serve as a landing platform for the rocket’s stage.
Until now, launch vehicles, with few exceptions, were single-use – most of which burnt up in Earth’s atmosphere. That all could possibly change with this Sunday’s launch. If SpaceX can have the first stage land on the ADSD and to have all or parts of it reused, it would, essentially, change the manner in which nominal space flight operations have been conducted for more than half a century.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.