SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was test-fired at Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A on Thursday evening, a few days before its scheduled blastoff with the EchoStar 23 communications satellite.
The nine Merlin 1D engines at the base of the booster ignited for more than three seconds at 6 p.m. EST (2300 GMT) Thursday, generating around 1.5 million pounds of thrust as the rocket remained firmly grounded by hold-down restraints. The static fire test is a customary milestone in SpaceX’s launch campaigns.
The rocket will now be returned to the hangar at pad 39A for attachment of the EchoStar 23 spacecraft, a commercial television broadcast satellite that will beam video programming to homes and businesses in Brazil.
Liftoff is scheduled for a two-and-a-half hour window opening at 1:34 a.m. EDT (0534 GMT) Tuesday.
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