SpaceX test fires Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral ahead of early launch
Teams targeting 3:59 a.m. Wednesday for liftoff
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – A Falcon 9 rocket's Merlin main engines briefly fired Saturday morning, setting the stage for an early Wednesday launch to the International Space Station, SpaceX confirmed, according to News 6 partner Florida today.
The successful static test fire at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station means teams are targeting 3:59 a.m. Wednesday for liftoff from Launch Complex 40 with an uncrewed Dragon spacecraft. The window is instantaneous, so Falcon 9 must launch at that time or delay to another day to meet up with the orbiting ISS.
The Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron expects 80% "go" conditions leading up to the window with the presence of cumulus clouds and the possibility of flight through precipitation as the only concerns.
After liftoff, the rocket's first stage will return to land just offshore from the Space Coast on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, according to SpaceX documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission this week. Spectators should at least be able to see the booster's engines fire during the landing burns about 16 miles offshore, but not much else.
On board Dragon will be 5,500 pounds of cargo, supplies and science experiments for the ISS crew. Despite sharing some common components, the robotic spacecraft also known as Cargo Dragon differs drastically from Crew Dragon, which suffered an incident last weekend that destroyed the spacecraft designed to take astronauts to the station. Teams were test-firing its SuperDraco engines at the Cape's Landing Zone 1 during the incident, which is why the booster will now land on the drone ship just offshore.
Copyright 2019 Florida Today