Static Fire Test:
Preparations for this pad flow began almost immediately after SpaceX’s previous launch from Space Launch Complex -40 (SLC-40) at the Cape.
DSCOVR is currently in good health as it heads out to the Lagrangian point L1 – located between the Sun and the Earth, about 1.5 million kilometres (930, 000 miles) from Earth – which will provide the satellite with an uninterrupted view of the Sun and the Sun-facing disc of the Earth.
The spacecraft is currently at the half way point towards its destination.
The company has a launch site on the West Coast – at Vandenberg Air Force Base – and plans to activate another site in Texas. SpaceX is also continuing work to convert the famous Pad 39A from its Shuttle era, opening with the debut flight of its Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.
An original target – or NET (No Earlier Than) – of February 27 was set for the latest mission. The current NET is March 1, showing only a few days of movement in the processing flow towards launch.
The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) was conducted on Monday, ahead of the Static Fire test on Wednesday.
This test a key processing milestone, a requirement that is used to ensure the pad’s fueling systems – and the rocket – function properly in a fully operational environment.
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.
The vehicle was rolled out of her hanger and erected at 10:30am Eastern on Wednesday, ahead of fueling and the Static Fire – which was conducted at around 2:10pm Eastern.
The data from the test will be fed into the Launch Readiness Review (LRR), which will ultimately confirm the launch date and the window – which is now refined to 22:50 through to 23:32 Eastern- following approval from the Eastern Range.
Based on the BSS-702SP platform, the spacecraft has a launch mass of 4, 861 lbs.
The satellite will use its electrical propulsion system to transit from its deployment in the transfer orbit towards its eventual Geostationary Orbit destination.
The other passenger is another communications satellite built by Boeing Satellite Systems and also based on the 702SP platform.
During this unique mission for SpaceX, the Falcon 9 Second Stage will take over the mission three minutes after launch, via staging with the core stage.
The first firing of the MVac engine (SES-1) will take place 186 seconds into the mission. Shutdown (SECO-1) will take place 530 seconds into flight, ahead of a coast phase.
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