SpaceX’s launch team loaded liquid propellants into the company’s first upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket Friday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the countdown rehearsal culminated in a brief ignition of the launcher’s nine Merlin main engines on the launch pad.
SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, sporting changes to make the booster easier to reuse, rolled out of its hangar and up the ramp to launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Thursday ahead of a planned hold-down engine firing.
SpaceX conducted the first hold-down firing of an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 rocket Friday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in preparation for launch next week with Bangladesh’s first communications satellite.
SpaceX technicians at Cape Canaveral are readying for the first launch of an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket configuration next week, a mission that will debut changes to make the launcher safer for astronauts and make it easier — and less expensive — for the company to reuse first stage boosters.
A Merlin engine designed for the version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that will carry astronauts into orbit for NASA failed during testing Saturday in Texas, but the company said its upcoming launches will not be affected by the accident.