Falcon 9 v1.1 conducts Static Fire ahead of CRS-3 mission

February 3, 2018 – 11:20 am

no altSpaceX have fired up their Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle during a Static Fire (Hot Fire) test on Saturday, allowing for a health check and countdown dress rehearsal ahead of their next flight of their Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). The CRS-3/SpX-3 Dragon is tracking a launch – her first on the upgraded Falcon 9 – on March 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).

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However, unlike her predecessors, this Falcon 9 is sporting four landing legs on her aft, allowing for the latest test objective towards SpaceX’s ultimate goal of a fully reusable rocket system.

Although a number of tests have already been conducted – mainly involving a restart of the First Stage post-staging, allowing it to practise a controlled re-entry – this will be the first mission where a soft splashdown on deployed legs will be attempted, as recently explained by SpaceX to NASASpaceFlight.com.

Following staging, the First Stage will bid farewell to the Second Stage and Dragon, prior to rotating its aft and engines into the direction of travel.Z4 Once in the correct orientation, three of Falcon 9’s Merlin 1D engines will conduct a supersonic retro propulsion burn.

Once the First Stage has shut down the three engines, a stable re-entry should then occur. As the Stage begins to drop back to Earth, the center engine will ignite to stabilize the Stage and reduce its velocity.

About 10 seconds into the landing burn, SpaceX will attempt the unique demonstration of deploying the four legs, as the Stage closes in on the water.

Recovery of the first stage from the water will be attempted, although SpaceX noted there is a low probability this will be successfully achieved during this test.

The SpX-3 flight will carry a full launch and return complement of 1, 580kg/3, 476lb of payload, an increase from the previous limit of 800kg, afforded by the increased upmass capabilities of the Falcon 9 v1.1.

For launch, Dragon will carry a record of one GLACIER and two MERLIN freezers for transporting ISS experiment samples.

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Source: www.nasaspaceflight.com

NASA Commercial Crew Human Spaceflight Program for Transport to the International Space Station (ISS): SpaceX Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Contracts, Safety Reviews, History and Update Reports
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