HAWTHORNE, Calif., 27 June 2008.Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) conducted a full launch rehearsal and hold-down firing of the Falcon 1 Flight 3 vehicle on Omelek Island, SpaceX's launch site at the Kwajalein Atoll. This test is the final step before launch of the Falcon 1 rocket.
It is the first launch pad firing of SpaceX's new Merlin 1C regeneratively cooled engine, which operated at full power with only the hold-down system restraining the rocket from flight. In the coming weeks, SpaceX will conduct a thorough review of all data prior to the opening of the launch window for flight, which runs from late July through early September.
"We are definitely not tied to the clock for this launch, and we are checking and crosschecking every aspect of the vehicle and ground systems to ensure a successful mission," says Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. "Our primary concerns remain the safety and reliability of our vehicle, and the successful delivery of the Defense Department and NASA satellites to orbit."
The Falcon 1 will carry the Trailblazer satellite for the Jumpstart Program of the Department of Defense's Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS). Additional secondary payloads include an adapter system developed by the government of Malaysia that holds two small NASA satellites.