SpaceX Aiming for Sunday Return to Flight After Successful Static Fire Test

SpaceX Aiming for Sunday Return to Flight After Successful Static Fire Test

SpaceX is now aiming at a Sunday launch of its Falcon 9 rocket following a successful static fire test today.   The test took place two days later than planned and the data are still being reviewed, but SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk sounded hopeful in a tweet this evening.

The Falcon 9 rocket will launch 11 ORBCOMM communications satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO).  It is the first flight of Falcon 9 since a launch failure on June 28, 2015 that destroyed a Dragon capsule full of supplies for the International Space Station.  SpaceX chose this ORBCOMM launch for its return-to-flight mission because it does not require a second firing of the rocket’s upper stage.  It was the upper stage that failed on June 28.

The company has made a number of upgrades to the Falcon 9, including supercooling the liquid oxygen, which apparently created challenges and led to the two-day delay in the static fire test.   Musk said in a tweet at 7:09  pm Eastern Standard Time tonight that the data looked good and the launch will take place on Sunday pending further review of the test data.


The test did not take place without problems.  Musk tweeted earlier in the day that an abort was triggered “due to slow ground side valve.” The timing margin was adjusted and the test was successful the second time.

The 45th Weather Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base, FL, says there is a 90% chance of favorable weather for a Sunday launch.  If it does not go on Sunday, the next opportunity will be Tuesday, when the weather forecast is 60% “go”

ORBCOMM said earlier that the launch would take place “about” three days after the successful static fire test between 8:00 and 9:00  pm EST.

If all goes well, this is the first of four Falcon 9 launches scheduled for the next two months, including the next cargo mission to the ISS in February.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.