Cape Canaveral, Florida – SpaceX They just launched the rocket that will transport its next crew of astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend.
The private spaceflight company conducted a steady shooting test on Wednesday (11 November). Falcon 9 rocket At Pad 39A here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Testing is one of the last major milestones ahead of the planned launch on Saturday (November 14).
The routine pre-test begins the countdown to the highly-anticipated flight of the company’s first operational mission for the Dragon crew capsule, called Crew-1. The spacecraft is heading to International Space StationShe brings with him three NASA astronauts and a Japanese astronaut.
The test, originally scheduled for Tuesday evening (November 10), was postponed for 24 hours until SpaceX could test and replace the purge valve on the missile’s second stage.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Falcon 9 rocket took off to life, as smoke rose from its engines during a pre-test test. Short ignition, known as a static fire test, is a standard part of pre-launch procedures and one of the last major milestones before takeoff.
During testing, the Falcon 9 is mounted to the platform while the nine first-stage engines are briefly switched on. This allows crews to ensure that all systems are operating properly and the missile is ready to fly. Soon after the test, SpaceX chirp That the static shooting test was successful and the company plans to launch it on Saturday 7:49 PM EST (0049 GMT Sunday 15 November).
The flight marks SpaceX’s 21st year and the first long-term mission to be launched from Florida. The first stage of the missile is expected to land Cape Canaveral Air Station About 9 minutes after take off. If everything goes according to plan, the crew capsule will spend only 8.5 hours tracking the space station before reaching the orbiting station early Sunday (November 15).
Both the Dragon capsule A brand new launcher for this mission. After the success of the Demo-2 mission, which launched two NASA astronauts to the space station in May for two months, NASA granted permission to SpaceX. For reuse of the crew capsule and the rocket On future assignments. In fact, the Crew-2 mission scheduled for release next year will reuse the Demo-2 Dragon capsule and the enhanced Crew-1 mission.
Taking into account the precedent set by him Experimental task 2The shiny exterior of the first stage of the missile is decorated with the iconic NASA worm logo.
With the Dragon capsule floating on top of the rocket, the duo It rolled from the hangar and onto the launch pad At Complex 39A on Monday evening (9 November). Its height is 256.3 feet (78.1 meters), and the pair was raised upright throughout the night.
Secured to the launch pad, the teams loaded the missile with super-cool propellants – kerosene and liquid oxygen – and then briefly ignited the Merlin’s nine first-stage 1D engines.
The engines fired briefly at 3:52 PM EST (2052 GMT), generating 1.7 million pounds of thrust while the booster remained flat to the ground. Engineers reviewed the data before deciding to go ahead with the planned Falcon 9 launch on Saturday night.
“Fixed firing on Falcon 9 is completed – Saturday, November 14 at 7:49 PM EST for the launch of the first Crew Dragon operational mission to the space station with four astronauts on board,” SpaceX chirp Shortly after the test.
The company also said that teams will continue to monitor weather conditions for take-off and along the pre-launch flight path.
Fixed firing of Falcon 9 completed – Saturday November 14 at 7:49 PM EST to launch the first operational Crew Dragon mission to the space_station with four astronauts on board. Teams will continue to monitor weather conditions for take-off and along the flight pathNovember 11, 2020
Fixed fire testing comes on the heels of swapping out the devices. Originally scheduled for October 31, the Crew-1 flight would be delayed two weeks back to allow SpaceX time to replace one of Merlin 1D’s nine engines in its first phase.
Last month, SpaceX tried to launch an updated Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite when it noticed an engine malfunction. The missile on the computer It caused a miscarriage The mission was postponed indefinitely as teams worked to troubleshoot the issue.
A thorough investigation revealed that masking varnish residues left over from the manufacturing process prevented the motors from performing as expected. SpaceX changed two engines on that rocket and the GPS mission was capable of that Off the ground On November 5th.
SpaceX also took time to examine two other boosters, and determined that the same paint traces were detected in the engines in two Falcon 9 initial stages – one on the rocket that would launch the Sentinel-6 ground observation satellite and the other on the crew-1 booster. Then SpaceX Swap it out Affected engines.
With a successful static firing test now under its belt, the missile is ready to fly. After launching Saturday night, SpaceX plans to land the first stage of its booster on one of its two massive unmanned vessels, “Read Instructions Only,” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. If successful, this will amount to a backup of 65 to the booster.
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