SpaceX Completes Acceptance Testing for Falcon 9 First and Second Stages
Director, Marketing and Communications
SpaceX Announces Completion of Acceptance Testing For Falcon 9 First and Second Stages
Both Stages Headed To Cape Canaveral Next Month in Preparation for Launch
McGregor, Texas – October 5, 2009 – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces the successful completion of acceptance testing of both the Falcon 9 first and second stages in preparation for the first flight of Falcon 9. Acceptance testing took place at SpaceX's Texas Test Site, a 300-acre structural and propulsion testing facility, located just outside of Waco, Texas.
This recent series of tests subjected both stages to a variety of structural load and proof pressure tests to verify acceptability for flight. Acceptance testing began in late summer with the first stage and concluded last week at SpaceX's Texas facility with completion of acceptance testing for the second stage.
“The successful completion of these tests marks another key milestone in our preparation for Falcon 9's first flight,” said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. “Our team will now move forward with a static fire of the first and second stages, the last major milestone before hardware is transferred to SpaceX's launch pad at Cape Canaveral.”
The inaugural flight of Falcon 9 is a demonstration flight, and is expected to occur one to three months after Falcon 9 arrival at Cape Canaveral next month. The final launch date will depend on range scheduling, weather conditions and time required to make adjustments for any vehicle-to-ground equipment interactions. For its first flight, Falcon 9 will launch a Dragon spacecraft qualification unit into orbit to provide SpaceX with valuable aerodynamic and performance information.
The second flight of the Falcon 9/Dragon system is the first flight under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, a new commercial-government partnership under which SpaceX will demonstrate the ability to dock with the International Space Station, transfer cargo, and return cargo safely to Earth.
SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles and spacecraft intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicles, SpaceX offers highly reliable/cost-efficient launch capabilities for spacecraft insertion into any orbital altitude and inclination. Starting in 2010, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will provide Earth-to-LEO transport of pressurized and unpressurized cargo, including resupply to the International Space Station (ISS).
Founded in 2002, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The SpaceX team now numbers over 800, with corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, California. For more information, please visit the company's web site at www.spacex.com.