SpaceX has conducted a Static Fire test on the next Falcon 9 rocket set to launch out of Florida, tasked with the lofting of the TurkmenistanSat spacecraft on April 27. SpaceX also passed a Test Readiness Review (TRR) for its Dragon 2 Pad Abort test, which is currently scheduled to take place on May 5. Both events will be conducted from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral.
SpaceX Static Fire:
The TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat 1 (TurkmenSat 1) mission follows hot on the heels of the Falcon 9 launch with the CRS-6 Dragon that was was successfully lofted into orbit and has since arrived at the International Space Station (ISS).
The original schedule called for the TurkmenistanSat to be launched ahead of CRS-6. However, just prior to its planned Static Fire test, SpaceX opted to switch the running order to allow for confidence checks relating to “bad trends” in a number of helium pressurization system’s bottles (COPVs).
Those checks were completed ahead of the CRS-6 launch, allowing for two launches in quick succession.
One of the primary elements to ensure the rocket is ready to go is the Static Fire test.
Also known as the Hot Fire test, the effort relates to ensuring that the pad’s fueling systems – and the launch vehicle – function properly in a fully operational environment, with numerous requirements to be successfully proven via such a test, such as the engine ignition and shutdown commands, which have to operate as designed, and that the Merlin 1D engines perform properly during start-up.
Tasks also include a full propellant loading sequence, launch countdown operations, engine ignition operations and testing of the pad’s high volume water deluge system.
The Static Test provides a dress rehearsal for the actual launch, with controllers first conducting a poll to allow for the loading of Falcon 9’s RP-1 propellant with liquid oxygen oxidizer two hours and 35 minutes before T-0.
This was followed by fuel and Thrust Vector Control (TVC) bleeding on the second stage, performed at T-60 minutes.
At T-13 minutes, a final flight readiness poll was required, with a final hold point at T-11 minutes.
Per the countdown procedures, the tasks then entered the terminal count ten minutes before ignition, followed by the launch vehicle being transferred to internal power at four minutes and 45 seconds before T-0.
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