SpaceX test-fires launch vehicle's engines for upcoming mission
By Ben Coxworth
April 30, 2012
Private space exploration company SpaceX is currently looking towards May 7th as the rescheduled date for its Dragon space capsule to lift off from Earth, on an unmanned Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demo mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Today, the company performed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle’s nine Merlin engines. The test took place at SpaceX’s Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and was part of a full dress rehearsal for the actual launch.
Problems of some type occurred less than a minute before the scheduled test-firing, which was scheduled for 3:00pm ET. The test was rescheduled to 4:15pm, at which time it went off successfully, with the engines firing for the planned two seconds.
In December 2010, the Dragon spacecraft was launched into Earth orbit, officially becoming history’s first private reusable spacecraft. Its upcoming second mission, this time going all the way to the space station and back, has been repeatedly delayed since last December.