SpaceX Falcon 9 Completes Test For Next Starlink Satellite Fleet

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SpaceX is testing the Falcon 9 rocket for the upcoming Starlink liftoff. The rocket is expected to send 60 new Starlink internet satellites into space tomorrow (February 16). Space X recently conducted a static-fire test at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the company said on Twitter.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Completes Test For Next Starlink Satellite Fleet

 

SpaceX Tests Falcon 9

The test-firing was conducted for the nine first-stage engines of the Falcon 9 rocket. The tested rocket is a thrice-flown first-stage booster, having previously lofted two commercial Dragon resupply missions and also a hefty telecommunications satellite in December 2019. The next launch marks the fourth time a SpaceX booster flying for a launch.

SpaceX has a routine set of tests before any rocket lifts off. The launch rehearsal, called a static-fire test, is a standard part of the prelaunch procedures. It also marks as the last major milestone before any liftoff. As part of the test, the SpaceX team loads the Falcon's extremely chilled propellants (kerosene and liquid oxygen) into the rocket and then briefly ignites the first stage's nine Merlin 1D engines.

However, this test was slightly different from the typical hold down tests that SpaceX conducts before every launch. This test involved a payload attached to the Falcon 9. This was a practice test that the space company followed in the past, but stopped after the loss of the AMOS 6 satellite in 2016. It led to the explosion of the composite overwrapped pressure vessels or COPVs.

 

SpaceX then ensured to redesign the COPVs. CEO Elon Musk had then noted that the new COPVs as "the most advanced pressure vessel developed by humanity." With everything set with the test, SpaceX will go ahead with the next batch of Starlink satellites. While these satellites are exciting, many astronomers and researchers worry about the damage it may cost to the low-Earth orbit.

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