SpaceX Test Fires Falcon 1 Engine (Movie)

By Keith Cowing
May 28, 2005
Filed under

SpaceX conducted a successfull test firing of its Falcon 1 rocket on Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base. While the engines were running for only 5 seconds – this milestone represented a big step for the new rocket maker none the less.

The next big step is the launch of the rocket. SpaceX is constrained by DoD customers awaiting launch at VAFB. At a recent Washington appearance at the ISDC, Musk said he expected the launch to be in late July or early August.

Click here – or on the image to launch Quicktime movie (2.2 MB)

Press release

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) today announced the successful completion of a full launch wet dress rehearsal, including execution of all launch operations and a hold down firing of the Falcon I at its newly activated site, Space Launch Complex 3 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base. This comprehensive test exercised Falcon vehicle systems and range safety interfaces to ensure optimal operations during the upcoming launch campaign. The test included erecting the integrated flight vehicle, a complete countdown sequence and firing of the Merlin main engine.

“Today we completed the largest milestone remaining before launch,” said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. “In a few months, we will receive Air Force clearance to fly and Falcon I will make its maiden voyage. With the lowest cost per flight in the world for a production rocket and superlative design reliability, it has the potential to be the world leader in launches per year.”

SpaceX received approval for this launch readiness test from the 30th Space Wing Commander at Vandenberg Air Force Base following unanimous recommendations from range safety, range operations, the mission director and the USAF and Aerospace Corporation independent review team. The maiden flight of Falcon I, carrying the Defense Department’s TacSat-1 satellite, is scheduled to follow the launch of the last Titan IV from Vandenberg in late summer. SpaceX will launch two more vehicles within the upcoming twelve months and was recently awarded a $100 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for satellite launch services.

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 http://www.SpaceX.com.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.