SpaceX Complete Static Fire Test Ahead of Lunar Mission Launch

SpaceX are set to launch the world's first privately funded mission to the moon.
A Falcon 9 is prepared for launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base on July 25, 2018 | Image credit: SpaceX

SpaceX has completed a static fire test of the Falcon 9 that will launch Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander. In addition to the Beresheet lander, the launch will carry the Nusantara Satu communications satellite and an experimental Air Force smallsat.

Early this morning, SpaceX confirmed that they had successfully completed a static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket on the company’s official Twitter page. The tweet continued to reveal that the launch is currently scheduled for February 21 from Cape Canaveral’s Pad 40.

The mission’s primary payload is the Nusantara Satu communications satellite. Formally know as PSN 6, Nusantara Satu was developed by Space Systems/Loral (SSL) for PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), Indonesia’s first and currently only private telecommunications provider. The satellite is expected to offer voice and data communications to South East Asia and the Indonesian archipelago.

In addition to the Nusantara Satu satellite, the mission will also carry two smaller payloads as part of a rideshare offering from Spaceflight Industries. The mission is the company’s second after making history late last year launching 64 small satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, the most ever launched from US soil.

The first of the two additional payloads is the world’s first privately funded mission to the moon, Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander (read more: Israel’s First Mission to the Moon to be Launched Aboard a Falcon 9). The second is the S5, an experimental small satellite built by Blue Canyon Technologies for the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).

The Falcon 9 Block 5 first stage booster earmarked for this mission is believed to be the flight-proven B1047.3. The booster had previously been used to launch the Telstar 19V satellite in July 2018 and the Es’hail 2 in November 2018. SpaceX is expected to attempt to recover the booster for the third time.

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.