Press Release

SpaceX Completes Falcon I Structural Qualification for Flight

By SpaceRef Editor
April 1, 2005
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SpaceX Completes Falcon I Structural Qualification for Flight
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Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) today announced the completion of qualification and acceptance testing of all primary structures for the Falcon I launch vehicle. SpaceX has now successfully tested every major structural subsystem of Falcon I including the gimbal, thrust frame, first stage tank assembly, interstage, second stage tank assembly, avionics bay, payload adaptor and fairing. Stage and fairing separation systems have also been successfully tested for flight. The first stage, which is designed to be reusable, was taken through over 150 pressure cycles without any sign of fatigue.

“We recognize that nothing is more important to our customers than reliability. Failure is never low cost,” said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. “I hope that those who have followed our progress will note that we have been meticulous and rigorous in our testing, leaving no stone unturned. By combining an exhaustive test regime with a simple, minimal failure modes design, Falcon I will deliver reliable, low cost access to space for small satellites.”

The Falcon I first stage engine, Merlin and second stage engine, Kestrel will begin acceptance testing within the next few weeks at the SpaceX 300 acre testing facility in McGregor, Texas. Following that, Falcon I will be shipped to its launch site, SLC 3W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in late April for a system test firing.

The maiden flight of Falcon I carrying TacSat-1 is scheduled to follow the launch of the last Titan IV from SLC 4 at Vandenberg AirForce Base. Assuming an on time departure of the classified Titan IV mission, SpaceX expects a launch window in late summer.

About SpaceX

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of access to space by a factor of ten. Located in El Segundo, California, the company was founded by CEO Elon Musk in June 2002. SpaceX is the third company founded by Mr. Musk. Previously he co-founded PayPal, Inc., the world’s leading electronic payment system, which sold to online auction giant eBay(TM) for $1.5 billion in 2002. More information about SpaceX can be found at SpaceX.com.

SpaceRef staff editor.