Photo of the Dragon spacecraft inside SpaceX’s hangar at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

SpaceX launch week begins with static fire Monday

Posted: February 21, 2013

SpaceX engineers will spend the next week testing its next Falcon 9 rocket and packing its privately-built Dragon spaceship with supplies and experiments before the next commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station blasts off March 1.

Launch week begins Monday with the Falcon 9 rocket’s customary preflight static fire test, in which the launcher’s nine first stage engines ignite on the launch pad.

The static fire, scheduled for Monday afternoon at SpaceX’s launch pad at Cape Canaveral, will occur at the end of a practice countdown. The launch team stationed about 10 miles from the rocket will load kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the booster and oversee a computer-controlled countdown sequence leading to ignition of the Falcon 9′s first stage engines.

The rocket’s nine Merlin 1C engines will fire at full power for about two seconds, reaching more than 800,000 pounds of thrust while the vehicle remains firmly attached to the launch pad at Complex 40.

After a successful static fire, engineers will remove the two-stage rocket from the launch pad. Workers will connect the launcher’s ordnance and pack the final items inside the Dragon spacecraft for shipment to the space station.

Read more: Spaceflight Now | Dragon Mission Report | SpaceX launch week begins with static fire Monday.

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