SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket ignited its nine Merlin main engines for several seconds Thursday at launch pad 39A in Florida, moving the previously-flown booster closer to a scheduled blastoff Monday with a Bulgarian communications satellite.
The nine Merlin 1D first stage engines fired at 6:25 p.m. EDT (2225 GMT) after SpaceX’s launch team, stationed in a control center 13 miles (21 kilometers) to the south of pad 39A, oversaw the loading of RP-1 fuel, cryogenic liquid oxygen and high-pressure helium into the two-stage rocket.
The Falcon 9 will be lowered from its mount at pad 39A and returned to SpaceX’s hangar for attachment of BulgariaSat 1, Bulgaria’s first broadcasting satellite, and final electrical tests before it returns to the seaside launch complex in time for a launch attempt Monday at 2:10 p.m. EDT (1810 GMT). The launch window extends for two hours.
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