SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy launch for the U.S. Air Force will take a major step closer to liftoff with a hold-down engine firing at launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The static fire test is scheduled for no earlier than Wednesday, followed by liftoff with a cluster of experimental satellites and weather monitoring craft June 24.
SpaceX ground teams at Cape Canaveral transferred a Falcon 9 rocket to launch pad 40 and rotated the booster vertical Monday for a preflight hold-down firing, ahead of a liftoff scheduled for Wednesday night carrying 60 satellites into orbit for the company’s planned Starlink broadband constellation.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sporting human-rating upgrades such as new composite pressurant tanks briefly ignited its nine Merlin engines Thursday afternoon on a launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and SpaceX later declared the pre-launch milestone complete in preparation for a critical test flight with a commercial crew capsule as soon as late February.
The Falcon 9 rocket set to launch the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on a test flight in February briefly ignited its Merlin main engines on pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday. The Crew Dragon test flight to the International Space Station is a precursor to the spaceship’s first mission with astronauts later this year.