Falcon 9 Hot Fire Test

Hot Fire
T-Minus 27:53 Minutes
Image Credit: SpaceX

At 11:35 Phoenix time, we are 25 minutes away from SpaceX conducting a hot firing of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, prior to blastoff with the Dragon spacecraft, which is tentatively scheduled for 7 May 2012.

PAO just noted two minutes to polling for go/no go on the static firing. The countdown has proceeded well so far.

Polling: All systems go for static fire at L-minus 20 minutes.

T-minus 15 minutes.

Terminal Count Autosequence has started.

T-minus 8 minutes. Going to internal power.

T-minus 90 seconds.

Holding at T-minus 47 seconds.

Dragon did not start up.

Contingency abort and disabling prop systems.

SpaceX does have the ability to recycle the count and try it again today.

Twitter from @SpaceX: “Reviewing Data”

Recycled to T-minus 13:00. Launch team is reviewing the data.

Lox continues to vent, so a full blown abort has not been declared as yet.

Twitter @SpaceX: “May recycle and try again today, watch for update.”

PAO: “Picking up the clock at T-20 minutes”. The problem was a “limit improperly set” (Overly restrictive redline on second stage engine position).

Twitter @Elon: “Flight computer aborted rocket hold down firing. Anomaly addressed. Cycling systems to countdown .” Included image of the SpaceX launch control room.

Countdown sequence resumed. Now T-minus 15 minutes. Final Readiness Poll again in progress.

Polling complete and launch director says proceed.

Coming up on T-10 minutes. Terminal Count Autosequence has started.

Dragon Internal On sequence is beginning. T-8 minutes. Configuring power for internal handover. Dragon on internal power.

T-5 minutes.

T-2 minutes. Vehicle vents closed, LOX lines are venting at launch duct.

T-30 seconds.

T+3 seconds PAO – “Good static fire. Continue”.

Twitter @Elon: “Woohoo, rocket hold down firing completed and all looks good!!”

We may know the results of the data gathered by tomorrow, and then know if the 7 May launch date for the Dragon mission to the ISS is set.

Hot Fire
T-Minus 8:00 Minutes
Image Credit: SpaceX

T-Minus 47 Seconds and Holding
Image Credit: SpaceX

Control Room
SpaceX Launch Control Room
Image Credit: SpaceX

Falcon 9 Ignition.
Image Credit: SpaceX

Falcon 9 Hot Fire Completed Successfully.
Image Credit: SpaceX


SpaceX Falcon 9 Hot Fire Test 30 April 2012

Falcon 9
Hot Fire Test Set For Falcon 9
Image Credit: SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is set to test fire the nine (9) Merlin engines on the Falcon 9 tasked with the launch of the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX will begin its webcast at 11:30 AM Phoenix time (1830 UTC), and if all goes well, ignite the engines at 12:00 PM (1900 UTC). SpaceX engineers will conduct a complete rehearsal of the upcoming launch of the Dragon. That flight is to fulfill the second set of test requirements under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

If Dragon performs the COTS 2 requirements, NASA can give the go ahead to perform the COTS 3 maneuvers, which could lead to the Dragon being grappled by the Canadarm on the ISS and berthing to the Space Station.

If the Dragon berths successfully, 1,200 pounds of supplies will be unloaded and SpaceX will start this Fall to fulfill its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract for NASA for at least 12 missions to carry cargo to and from the space station.

Dragon will undock from the Space Station at the end of May after its three week mission, and return with nearly 1,400 pounds of science experiments and equipment to splash down in the Pacific off the coast of Southern California.