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Pre-flight static fire test performed on flight-proven Falcon 9

Falcon 9 static fire test – 2017-03-27

SpaceX performs a static fire test on its Falcon 9 rocket three days before the planned March 30, 2017, launch of the SES-10 satellite. The March 27 test clears the way for the NewSpace company to fly its first “flight proven” booster. Photo Credit: SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX performed its customary pre-flight static fire test on the Falcon 9 rocket intended to send the SES-10 satellite to space. The mid-afternoon evaluation took place at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.

The first stage of this booster is the same one that helped propel the CRS-8 Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station in April 2016. During that flight, after it separated from the upper stage, it performed a series of burns that brought it down to the deck of SpaceX’s Automated Spaceport Drone Ship called Of Course I Still Love You. It was the first orbital-class booster to successfully land on an ocean-going platform and the second overall that the company recovered.

The 2 p.m. EDT (18:00 GMT) March 27, 2017, static fire test was significant because it was the final step before this booster is re-flown. Pending a final evaluation of the results, SpaceX expects to fly this rocket with SES-10 at the opening of a 2.5-hour launch window at 6 p.m. EDT (22:00 GMT) March 30, 2017.

This booster, known as core 1021, will also attempt a landing downrange on Of Course I Still Love You. If successful it will be the first booster to be recovered twice. While it will be flying nearly a year after its first mission, according to SpaceX, it only required about four months to refurbish the stage.

SpaceX expects to perform a number of milestone missions in 2017, including launching the first unpiloted test flight of its Crew Dragon capsule. In addition to re-flying multiple Falcon 9 first stages this year, it also plans to fly the three-core Falcon Heavy from LC-39A.

The maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy will only occur once nearby Space Launch Complex 40 is repaired. It was damaged on Sept. 1, 2016, when a Falcon 9 exploded while performing a pre-flight test.

 

 

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Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter. His passion for space ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into space Oct. 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized his true calling was communicating to others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor. @TheSpaceWriter

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