SpaceX test-fires rocket ahead of Crew-2 astronaut launch for NASA

SpaceX test-fires rocket ahead of Crew-2 astronaut launch for NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has fired up the rocket that will ferry its next crew of astronauts to the International Space Station next week.

The private spaceflight company conducted a static-fire test on Saturday (April 22) of its Falcon 9 rocket at Pad 39A here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The test is one of the last major milestones ahead of a planned launch on Thursday (April 22).

The routine preflight test commenced the commencement to the exceptionally expected trip of the organization’s second operational mission of its Dragon group case, called Crew-2. The shuttle is headed for the International Space Station, conveying with it two NASA space travelers and one space explorer each from the Japanese and European space organizations.

The test happened true to form in the predawn hours on Saturday. Smoke and fire surged momentarily as the rocket’s nine Merlin 1D motors were lit. The concise start, known as a static-fire test, is a standard piece of prelaunch techniques and one of the last significant achievements before takeoff.

During the test, the Falcon 9 is held down on the cushion while its nine first-stage motors are momentarily terminated. This permits teams to guarantee that all frameworks are working appropriately and that the rocket is prepared to fly. Not long after the test, SpaceX tweeted that the static-fire test was a triumph and that the organization intended to dispatch on Thursday at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT).

The flight denotes SpaceX’s eleventh mission of the year and the second long-term mission to dispatch from Florida. The rocket’s first stage is relied upon to arrive on one of SpaceX’s robot ships, “Of Course I Still Love You”. Following a fruitful takeoff, the group case will go through just shy of 24 hours following the space station prior to showing up at the orbital station early Friday (April 23).

In a shift from the organization’s past two maintained missions, both the Dragon case and its launcher have flown previously. Following the achievement of the Demo-2 mission, which dispatched two NASA space travelers to the space station in May 2020, NASA allowed SpaceX to reuse both the team container and the rocket on future missions.

For this mission, the first stage is the same one that delivered the Crew-1 astronauts to space in November, and the Dragon capsule is the same one that Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley flew on last year. Its name is Endeavour.

With the Dragon container roosted on the rocket, the team carried out of the shed and onto the platform at complex 39A on Friday morning (April 16). Standing 256.3 feet (78.1 meters) tall, the pair were lifted upstanding soon thereafter.

Gotten to the platform, groups were up early Saturday morning, stacking the rocket with super-chilled charges — lamp oil and fluid oxygen — and afterward momentarily touched off the primary stage’s nine Merlin 1D motors.

The motors momentarily terminated at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT), creating 1.7 million pounds of push while the promoter remained solidly on the ground. Specialists explored the information prior to affirming they would continue with the Falcon 9’s arranged dispatch endeavor Thursday morning.

“Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete — targeting Thursday, April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT for launch of Dragon’s second operational mission to the @space_station,” SpaceX wrote of the test on Twitter.

The static fire test goes ahead the impact points of a flight availability audit. On Thursday evening (April 15), NASA gave SpaceX the green light to continue with dispatch arrangements, with one exemption.

During the preflight examinations, engineers saw that more fluid oxygen was being stacked into the Falcon 9 than anticipated — an error that has been happening without episode all through the vehicle’s flight history.

“There’s one thing we actually need to do somewhat more work on,” Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s previous head of Human Spaceflight, and SpaceX’s present VP of fabricate and flight unwavering quality said Thursday during a media preparation. “In Texas, we found there was a potential stacking blunder, where we really might be adding some additional oxygen in our tank than typical. We’ve been doing that all through our flight history.”

With a fruitful static fire test now added to SpaceX’s repertoire, groups have likely cleared the issue and the rocket is prepared to fly. A last dispatch preparation audit is anticipated Tuesday (April 20) to examine any excess uncertain issues before the dispatch.

Following a fruitful takeoff on Thursday morning, SpaceX plans to land its first-stage promoter on a coasting stage adrift. On the off chance that effective, it would check the organization’s 80th promoter recuperation.

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