SpaceX conducts Falcon 9 Static Fire ahead of key ISS mission

July 21, 2017 – 09:14 am

2015-06-26-182545SpaceX has conducted a Static Fire of its Falcon 9 v1.1 on Friday, a key milestone ahead of Sunday’s planned launch of the CRS-7/SpX-7 Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission will help restock the orbital outpost with vital supplies, highlighted by an investigation into high Total Organic Carbon (TOC) levels in the Station’s potable water.

Static Fire:

The initial launch date slipped a few days due to an issue suffered during the processing flow.

It is understood the CRS-7 Dragon suffered from a problem during the mating process with her Falcon 9 rocket inside the hanger at SLC-40.

That issue was soon resolved, allowing for a renegotiation of the launch date with the ISS program.

2015-06-26-183555Now into the business end of the flow, the Static Fire test is an important requirement to allow SpaceX management to approve the launch.

Numerous requirements have to be successfully proven via such a test, such as the engine ignition and shut down commands, which have to operate as designed, and that the Merlin 1D engines perform properly during start-up.

With the required engine and vehicle data collected, detanking operations follow, before the rocket is lowered on to the Transporter Erector (TE) and rolled back to the hanger.

Next up will be a data review, which will be fed into the Launch Readiness Review (LRR) – a key meeting that will ultimately confirm the launch date.

The launch itself has the additional challenge of an instantaneous launch window, due to the mission targeting a path toward the International Space Station.

The current target calls for a T-0 at 10:21 local time on Sunday, with an alternate launch of Monday at 09:58 local time. The weather outlook for Sunday’s attempt is highly favorable, with a forecast of 90 percent for acceptable conditions.

It will be removed from the Trunk section of the Dragon by the Station’s robotic assets during the docked phase of the mission.

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