SpaceX Sets New Launch Date For Falcon

Mar 02, 2006
Falcon 1 Rocket

SpaceX has reset the tentative launch window for the maiden flight of Falcon 1 to March 20 through 25.

"The gating items are receiving a shipment of liquid oxygen from Hawaii and switching out the 2nd stage tank," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk told SpaceDaily.com in an e-mail. "Obviously, long term operations on (Kwajalein Atoll) will require that we install a state-of-the-art, high reliability LOX plant on island."

In the meantime, Musk said, the company intends to proceed through first launch with LOX shipments from Hawaii "and whatever output we can generate from the sad, old clunker of a LOX plant that we currently own."

He said the launch crew is also replacing the second stage tank following discovery of a small leak. "Fortunately, a Falcon second stage tank just barely fits through the door of a standard cargo airplane (no C-17 required), so the flight is relatively inexpensive and readily available."

Musk said fixing the leak in the tank being shipped back is not a huge task, but he added it is not something easily done far away from the factory, so countdown procedures have been modified to prevent such leaks from developing in the future.

The static firing of the Falcon's engine that was performed during the last countdown attempt was really helpful as a preflight systems checkout, he said, "so we will be doing one again three or four days before the next countdown." He said that date is most likely March 17.

"In addition, we are doing another systems review with DARPA, AF and NASA in early March."

Copyright 2006 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: New Horizons spacecraft experiences anomaly

Related Stories

SpaceX Delays Maiden Flight of Falcon 1 Rocket

Nov 27, 2005

Space Exploration Corp. (SpaceX) launch scrubbed Saturday because of problems with liquid oxygen (LOX) fill tank. The reason for the delay was that an auxiliary liquid oxygen fill tank had a manual vent valve ...

Recommended for you

New Horizons spacecraft experiences anomaly

11 hours ago

The New Horizons spacecraft experienced an anomaly the afternoon of July 4 that led to a loss of communication with Earth. Communication has since been reestablished and the spacecraft is healthy.

Dwarf planet Ceres offers big surprises for scientists

11 hours ago

The closer we get to Ceres, the more perplexing the dwarf planet grows. NASA's Dawn spacecraft has found several more bright spots as well as a pyramid-like peak jutting out of the frigid world's surface.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.