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Wed, May 02, 2012

SpaceX Test Fires Falcon 9 Rocket

Static Fire Test Conducted At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

SpaceX conducted a successful static test fire of the Falcon 9 rocket it hopes will launch a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station May 7th. The rocket rumbled to life on the second try about about 1615 EDT after being delayed by a computer glitch.

Space.com reports that the Falcon 9's nine Merlin engines were ignited for about two seconds with the booster remaining attached to the launch pad. "So far things look good," SpaceX spokesperson Kirstin Grantham said in a statement. "Engines fired for 2 seconds, as scheduled. Engineers will now review data as we continue preparations for the upcoming launch."

If all goes well, the Falcon 9 will lift of from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the Florida coast carrying a Dragon capsule containing non-essential supplies for the ISS. The flight plan calls for a near approach to the station, and if that is successful, the Dragon spacecraft will be grappled by the stations robotic arm and docked, the first time a private spacecraft will visit the station.

SpaceX has a contract with NASA for 12 cargo missions to the ISS worth $1.6 billion. The company hopes to eventually be able to make manned trips to the outpost.

FMI: www.spacex.com

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