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Falcon 9 rocket test fires engines

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:55 PM

Falcon 9 rocket fires engines in preflight hold-down test


spaceflightnow.com said:

SpaceX engineers hoisted a Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad, filled the launcher with liquid propellant, and fired the booster's nine main engines Monday, crossing off a big item on the rocket's preflight checklist ahead of its planned launch Friday.

The Falcon 9 rocket's nine Merlin 1C engines ignited at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT), ramping up to more than 850,000 pounds of thrust and maintaining full power for about two seconds.

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"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#2    keninsc

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:09 PM

That's interesting, I wasn't aware that they did a full power test on a final assemly of a rocket. I always thought because the propellents were so corrosive they'd have to rebuild all the engines. Learned something new.


#3    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:27 PM

View Postkeninsc, on 26 February 2013 - 01:09 PM, said:

That's interesting, I wasn't aware that they did a full power test on a final assemly of a rocket. I always thought because the propellents were so corrosive they'd have to rebuild all the engines. Learned something new.


It is not standard practice with most rockets to test them like this as most rocket engines are designed to be used only once. If they are test fired they often need to be stripped down, checked and reassembled before they can be fired again. It also depends on the type of fuel used. Not all of it is corrosive.

The Merlin engines on the Falcon are designed to be reusable and also to "recycled" very quickly. SpaceX have in the past, demonstrated an ability to have an engine shut down on the pad, rectify the problem and then have a successful launch on the same day (this option is not open to a Dragon flight to the ISS is there is an extremely short launch window for the dragon to be in the correct orbit to rendezvous with the ISS).

Since the Falcon is designed to be able to fire it's engines multiple times then it makes sense to test the rocket in this way before launch.

This is not unique to the Falcon though, if a shuttle was returned to launch status after a long period (after the two accident for example) or before it's maiden flight similar static engine firings were done then.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#4    keninsc

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:50 PM

Thank you for turning me on to this. I can see I'm going to have to do some serious reading up on this, in my younger days I used to get a series of books printed up by NASA about every aspect of the Moon program....systems.....everything. I would just wait in anticipation to see what the next featured system was, in fact I was a border line geek when it came to the space program. After NASA was taken over by politicians and Manager types.......and right after the Challenger blew up I sort of lost interest.

I'm glad to see someone else has taken up the challenge......and yes, the pun is intended. :yes:

:tsu:


#5    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:43 AM


SpaceX CRS-2 Static Fire: 2/25/13

On Monday, February 25, 2013 at 1:30 PM ET, SpaceX conducted a successful static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket, in advance of a targeted March mission to the International Space Station. The nine-engine test took place at the company's Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as part of a full launch dress rehearsal leading up to SpaceX CRS-2, the second official cargo resupply mission under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.

The first launch opportunity for CRS-2 is currently scheduled for 10:10 AM ET on Friday, March 1.

Credit: SpaceX

Source: SpaceX Channel - YouTube

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#6    keninsc

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:46 AM

Very cool! I remember back in the day when they were trying to get the Atlas rocket squared away enough for Glen to get into orbit and they would put all the rocket "malfunctions" on live TV. The Atlas was called the "snake killer" by the ground crews because the marshy land surrounding the launch sites were infested with Eastern Diamondback Rattle snakes. The rocket would fail, fall over explode in a fiery blast, set the mashes on fire and kill all the snakes. The fire crews reported finding hundreds after every failed attempt. Unlike the Russians who only showed their good launches so everyone got the impression the Russians were ahead of us.

Hell, when they put Glenn on top of his Atlas and fired him off it was only the second good launch for that rocket. I know I'd have left a pucker mark in the seat.

The good news is that the Saturn V never failed to launch successfully. Experience, is always directly proportional to the amount of stuff you've destroyed.





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