SpaceX successfully test-fired the engines on its Falcon 9 rocket on September 29, just over two weeks ahead of its October 7 liftoff. SpaceX during its flight will deliver its first official cargo load to the International Space Station.
The commercial space delivery company performed a static-fire test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The company called the exercise the “last major test” before its ISS launch.
The rocket was secured as the company performed a test on its nine Merlin engines that blazed for several seconds during a computer-controlled fueling sequence. SpaceX is pouring over data from the test to ensure a smooth launch at 8:34 p.m. ET on Oct. 7.
SpaceX has a lot riding on the launch after signing a $1.6 billion NASA contract that includes 12-flights to the International Space Station.
In May SpaceX became the first commercial company to dock with the ISS after it sent its Falcon 9 rocket into space with its attached Dragon capsule. The test docking which was assisted by the team at NASA included “non-mission critical” supplies and several return to earth items. It was the successful May mission that led to the approval of the upcoming May mission.
Starting sometime between 2015-2017 SpaceX is expected to launched a modified version of the Dragon capsule which will be capable of sending astronauts to the International Space Station alongside other valuable cargo.
Also working towards NASA delivery contracts at this time are technology firms Boeing Co. and Sierra Nevada Corp. among others.
Here is the test launch video from Saturday’s SpaceX rocket test: