Saturday, August 02, 2008

Full Thrust Test-Firing of Falcon 9!

Last night Spacex achieved a major milestone. I know, you're thinking I'm talking about the Falcon 1 launch window, but as is to be expected for a company like SpaceX, they tend to have more than one major awesome thing going on at a time.

On Thursday night was the first nine engine firing of the Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle at the Texas Test Facility out of McGregor. Last night a second successful firing completed a major milestone for NASA on the path towards a new transportation vehicle to the International Space Station. I.e. replacing the Space Shuttle. Oh yeah baby.

And of course, some awesome stats
1. 3,200lbs/sec - Fuel consumed full power
2. 832,000lbf - pounds of force generated at full power (four times the maximum thrust of a 747)
3. With some tweaks and a new fuel pump upgrade, Falcon 9 will be the most powerful singe core vehicle in the US.

From Elon -
“This was the most difficult milestone in development of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and it also constitutes a significant achievement in US space vehicle development. Not since the final flight of the Saturn 1B rocket in 1975, has a rocket had the ability to lose any engine or motor and still successfully complete its mission,” said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. “Much like a commercial airliner, our multi-engine design has the potential to provide significantly higher reliability than single engine competitors.”

And for the voyeur's in all of us, here the running commentary on the test firing from the team on the ground-

Time: Friday, 01 August, 2008 6:22 PM
Status: Helium trailer hooked up. We are getting ready to bring the stage up on the new helium and perform valve timing checks.

Time: Fri Aug 01 18:57:26 2008
Status: Main valve timing is good. We are setting up to test

Time: Friday, 01 August, 2008 8:09 PM
Status: LOX load started

Time: Friday, 01 August, 2008 8:18 PM
Status: LOX load at 30%

Time: Friday, 01 August, 2008 8:20 PM
Status: Starting fuel loading on F9 stage. LOX load at 16,000 gallons

Time: Friday, 01 August, 2008 8:27 PM
Status: LOX load at 70% fuel load at 25%

Time: Friday, 01 August, 2008 8:35 PM
Status: LOX load complete, fuel load at 70%

Time: Friday, 01 August, 2008 8:43 PM
Status: F9 propellant load complete. 535,000lbm propellant loaded. Next step is to set up to run 15 second trim test.

Time: Friday, 01 August, 2008 8:51 PM
Status: Starting autosequence... For 15 second nine engine test

Time: Fri Aug 01 20:54:06 2008
Subject: Test complete - full 15 seconds!!!! No Aborts

And of course, no test firing post is complete without the video from last night.

How's that for some candy before the launch!

- Stay up to date on Falcon 9 with Me.dium Social Search.

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