Following last-second aborts on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completed a successful burn of the nine first-stage Falcon 9 engines, including about two seconds with the liquid oxygen and kerosene-fueled Merlin engines at full thrust, officials said.
“We’ll continue to review data, but today’s (Dec. 4) static test appears to be a success,” the company wrote on its website.
The successful firing at 10:50 a.m. EST followed a 9:30 a.m. abort at T-minus 1.9 seconds due to a low gas generator pressure on engine 6, the same engine that triggered an abort during the first attempted static firing on Dec. 3. That scrub at T-1.1 seconds was due to high engine chamber pressure, SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Brost said in statement.
NASA, which has been closely watching the company’s progress, offered its congratulations in a message posted on its Twitter account. SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Falcon 9 rocket between 9:03 a.m. and 12:22 p.m. on Dec. 7 on the first of three demonstration missions under a NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract.
The rocket, which made a successful debut flight on June 4, will be carrying a Dragon capsule, which NASA hopes to use to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. share commercial cargo resupply contracts worth $3.5 billion. NASA is counting on SpaceX and Orbital to pick up U.S. station resupply obligations after the space shuttles are retired next year.