Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The latest on the Falcon 9 Static Test Fire

Photo credit: SpaceX

"Today SpaceX performed our first Static Fire for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. We counted down to an T-2 seconds and aborted on Spin Start. Given that this was our first abort event on this pad, we decided to scrub for the day to get a good look at the rocket before trying again. Everything looks great at first glance.

We completed pad preps on time and with good execution. The integrated countdown with the range included holdfire checks, S- band telemetry, C-band, and FTS simulated checks. We completed helium, liquid oxygen (LOX), and fuel loads to within tenths of a percent of T-zero conditions. Tanks pressed nominally and we passed all Terminal count, flight software, and ground software abort checks right down to T-2 seconds. We encountered a problem with the spin start system and aborted nominally.

As part of the abort, we close the pre-valves to isolate the engines from the propellant tank and purge the residual propellants. The brief flames seen on the video are normal burn off of residual LOX and kerosene, similar to what occurs when we do stage firings at our test site in Texas. No damage occurred to the vehicle.

We detanked and safed the vehicle and launch pad. Preliminary review shows all other systems required to reach full ignition were within specification. All other pad systems worked nominally. Inspections will be complete tonight. Tomorrow will consist of data review and procedure updates. Commodities will be replenished tomorrow including TEA TEB load, LOX and helium deliveries. We'll look to do the next static fire attempt in three or four days."
SpaceX, 10 March 2010

I have to tell you, I can't wait to see this rocket launch into orbit next month. This is truly exciting! SpaceX is located close to Los Angeles airport in Hawthorne, CA. Go for it SpaceX we are all rooting for you.

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