SpaceX Complete Demo-1 Falcon 9 Static Fire Test

SpaceX has successfully completed the static fire test of the Demo-1 Falcon 9.
A Falcon 9 vertical Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with a fresh coat of paint on the launch structure and the additional of the swinging crew arm | Image credit: SpaceX

SpaceX has confirmed the completion of a static fire test of the Falcon 9 set to launch the company’s Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission. Despite the company confirming the test had been successful, many have pointed to a shorter than usual firing and a delay in announcing the success.

After several delays, SpaceX fired up the Demo-1 Falcon 9 rocket at the historic 39A launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center late yesterday. Following the test, SpaceX tweeted that it had been completed and that it planned on a February launch date for the Demo-1 mission.

During the static fire test, the Falcon 9 is fixed to the launch pad and loaded with a full load of propellant as it would before a launch. All nine Merlin 1D+ engines are then throttled up to full power generating a combined 1.7 millions pounds of thrust. The test lasts just a few seconds following which all 9 engines shut down.

The average Falcon 9 static fire test can last anywhere from 3.5 seconds to 5 or 6 seconds. During yesterday’s test, the 9 Merlin engines were fired for approximately 3.5 seconds, the low end of the prescribed firing durations. On its own, a short burn would not indicate that anything was amiss. However, SpaceX traditionally tweets a confirmation of a successful static fire test shortly after its completion. Yesterday, however, the confirmation can several hours after it had been expected.

Despite the mild controversy, the static fire test appears to have been completed according to plan. Although no launch date has yet been confirmed, early reports have indicated it will likely be late February. This may, however, be delayed due to clashes with a vital ISS resupply mission.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.