Just one day after a mission from a nearby launch pad, SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket Monday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ahead of the company’s next flight. Faced with extreme weather this week in the ocean recovery zone for the Falcon 9’s first stage booster and payload shroud, SpaceX said it was evaluating the best opportunity to launch the Falcon 9 with 60 Starlink broadband satellites.
SpaceX performed a hold-down test-firing Jan. 20 of a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral in preparation for a launch with 60 Starlink broadband satellites, but officials delayed the missions’s planned launch Tuesday due to extreme weather in the downrange recovery zone for the first stage and payload fairing. The next possible launch attempt is expected at 9:49 a.m. EST (1449 GMT) Monday.
SpaceX performed a dramatic high-altitude test flight Sunday of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule over Florida’s Space Coast, testing the human-rated ship’s ability to escape a rocket failure and save its crew before two NASA astronauts strap in for a flight to the International Space Station as soon as this spring.
SpaceX will sacrifice a Falcon 9 rocket Sunday in a fiery test a minute-and-a-half after liftoff from Florida’s Space Coast to prove the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft can safely push astronauts away from a failing launch vehicle, simulating a daring maneuver that would only be attempted on a piloted mission during an in-flight emergency.
A NASA official said Friday that SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft could be ready to ferry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station as soon as early March, pending the results from a major demonstration of the ship’s launch abort system this weekend, a pair of parachute drop tests, and space station crew schedules.
SpaceX launched an unpiloted Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT) Sunday. SpaceX triggered an escape maneuver using the Dragon’s thrusters about a minute-and-a-half after liftoff to verify the launch abort engines can safely carry the capsule — and astronauts on future missions — away from a failing rocket.