Spaceflight Insider

SpaceX conducts static test fire of Falcon 9 v1.1 for Jason-3 mission

Launch of Orbcomm OG2 Full Thrust Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 SpaceX photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider

SpaceX has completed a static test fire of the Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket that has been tapped to fly the Jason-3 spacecraft to orbit. Photo Credit: SpaceX (Archive photo of Orbcomm OG2 launch)

Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX has successfully completed a static test fire of the last Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket set to be launched. The test took place on Jan. 11 and was carried out for the planned deployment of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Jason-3 spacecraft. The static test fire is the final step before the rocket and its precious cargo are launched.

autonomous_spaceport_drone_ship photo credit SpaceX posted on SpaceFlight Insider

SpaceX has stated it will try to land the Falcon 9’s first stage on an Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, which will be positioned out in the Pacific. Photo Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX posted an update on Twitter at 9:42 p.m. EST, Jan. 11 – which included a picture of the static test fire taking place. According to the company:

Full-duration static fire complete at our California pad. Preliminary data looks good in advance of Jason-3 launch.

This mission will be unique and intriguing on a multitude of levels. The first being that this is scheduled to be the final flight of the v1.1 version of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Next, after having conquered the Herculean task of having the first stage of the “Full Thrust” version of the Falcon 9 touchdown at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Landing Zone-1, SpaceX is eyeing an old foe. According to a report appearing on Space News, the NewSpace company is planning on carrying out a sea landing atop one of their Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships that will be positioned out in the Pacific Ocean.

It will also be only the second time that SpaceX has conducted a launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4E since the Sept. 2013 flight of the first v1.1 rocket with the CASSIOPE spacecraft for the Canadian Space Agency.

If everything goes as planned, SpaceX will send NOAA’s Jason-3 spacecraft aloft in about five days’ time, with the opening of the launch window slated to take place at 10:42 a.m. PST. Something noted by SpaceX CEO and Founder – Elon Musk on Twitter around the same time as SpaceX’s tweet:

Aiming to launch this weekend and (hopefully) land on our droneship. Ship landings needed for high velocity missions.”

Jason 3 is an Earth-observation satellite designed to monitor and precisely measure the world’s oceans, and is operated as a collaboration between NOAA, Eumetsat, NASA, and CNES (the French Space Agency – Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales).


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,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Reader Comments

The time you have listed for the opening of the launch window is incorrect. It should be 10:42AM PST not 10:42PM PST.

Daniel Wisehart

“The test took place on Jan 17…”, you probably mean Jan 11.

Yes, they got that date wrong. They also misstated the launch time to be at 10:42 p.m., but their counter at the top of the page correctly shows the countdown to launch at 10:42 a.m.

Good luck to NASA, JPL, and SpaceX for a successful launch, deployment and recovery!

Somehow, I think the roll of the barge may once more prevent a recovery. Moving target and all that. I guess it depends on how low the CG is on a landing stage.

Check your launch time in the article… I think you are 12 hours off. Your countdown timer suggests 10:42 PST (AM), not 22:42 PST (PM). Which one is correct? Request advise. 🙂

10:42 AM local time is the correct time.

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