SpaceX Tests Falcon 9 Engines
[Satellite Today – 3-28-08] Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) conducted the first three-engine firing of its Falcon 9 medium-to heavy-lift rocket, the company announced March 28.
The March 8 test in Texas generated more than 270,000 pounds of force and consumed 1,050 pounds of fuel and liquid oxygen per second. SpaceX plans to incrementally add engines to the tests until it reaches its full complement of nine engines that will be used during missions. With all engines firing, the Falcon 9 can generate more than 1 million pounds of thrust.
“The incremental approach to testing allows us to closely observe how each additional engine influences the entire system,” Tom Mueller, vice president of propulsion for SpaceX, said in a statement. “This ensures that we obtain as much data, knowledge and experience as possible as we approach the full nine-engine configuration. To date we have not encountered any unexpected interactions between the engines.”
The first Falcon 9 is scheduled to be delivered to the SpaceX launch site at Cape Canaveral, Fla., by the end of 2008.