SpaceX Schedules COTS-2 Static Fire Test
[Satellite TODAY 04-30-12] SpaceX will conduct a static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket’s nine Merlin engines on Monday in preparation for its May 7 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) 2 launch for NASA, SpaceX confirmed April 27.
The nine-engine test will take place at the company’s Space Launch Complex 40 facility at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX engineers will run through all countdown processes as though it were launch day before firing all nine engines at full power for two seconds.
The COTS 2 mission requires SpaceX to launch its Dragon spacecraft into low-Earth orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon’s sensors and flight systems will be subject to a series of tests to determine if the vehicle is ready to berth with the International Space Station (ISS). If NASA decides Dragon is ready, the vehicle will attach to the station and astronauts will open Dragon’s hatch and unload cargo onboard.
“This will be the first attempt by a commercial company to send a spacecraft to the ISS, a feat previously performed by only a few governments. Success is not guaranteed. If any aspect of the mission is not successful, SpaceX will learn from the experience and try again,” SpaceX said in a company statement.