SpaceX test-fires Falcon 9 rocket in preparation for December 4th mission
November 29, 2019
Image Source: Twitter @cbs_spacenews
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket roared to life, during a static-fire test on November 27 at around 5:30 p.m. EST. from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Space Launch Complex 40, in preparation for next week's launch. A static-fire test involves a very short ignition of Falcon 9's Merlin engines. This test is part of every rocket pre-flight preparation. It is important to run this test ahead of liftoff because this is how engineers make sure that all systems are working properly. During static fire testing, the rocket is grounded on the launch pad while its 9 Merlin engines are fired for about 5 seconds. SpaceX stated that the static fire test was successful and that they are scheduled to launch on December 4 at 12:51 p.m. EST.
"Falcon 9 static fire test complete — targeting December 4 launch from Pad 40 in Florida for Dragon's nineteenth resupply mission to the @Space_Station."
F9/CRS-19: SpaceX confirms a good static fire test, clearing the way for launch on a space station resupply mission Dec. 4 pic.twitter.com/zJbxXzmzsB— William Harwood (@cbs_spacenews) November 26, 2019
The Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission previously flew in support of our fourth and eleventh commercial resupply missions pic.twitter.com/P6ceGX9Pz1— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 26, 2019
For next week's mission, SpaceX is tasked to fly cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard their Dragon spacecraft. This Dragon has flown before, the company will reuse the craft a third time during this trip to the space station. This Dragon previously delivered supplies for the CRS-4 in 2014, as well as the CRS-11 resupply mission in 2017. Reusing the craft for the third time, will be a milestone for the company, their goal is to achieve full reusability in order to reduce cost.
December 4th's mission is called CRS-19, it will be the 19th mission for SpaceX under their NASA Commercial Resupply Cargo Services contract. A Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After liftoff, Dragon will deliver more than 5,700 lbs. of cargo to the ISS. It will take a wide variety of equipment to conduct scientific experiments inside the orbiting ISS lab.
Read about some of the experiments: This is what SpaceX will launch on their next International Space Station resupply mission.
In a few weeks, after the experiments are conducted, Dragon will return to Earth carrying experiment results and equipment. SpaceX has proved Dragon is reliable to safely send cargo to the space station and back.
A new Falcon 9 rocket booster will be utilized for this upcoming mission, a huge contrast to the previous launch where the company utilized a pre-flown booster, on its 4th flight. Read about the previous mission: SpaceX Successful Falcon 9 Starlink Launch.
SpaceX aims to bring the new rocket back from space, in order to be potentially reused one day. About 8 minutes after launch, we will see the company's signature feat of landing the rocket vertically at sea on the Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) drone ship, which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
Falcon 9 landing drone ship. Source: SpaceX
--That is always fun to watch!
Good luck to SpaceX!
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.