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: Dawn spacecraft captures best-ever view of dwarf planet

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

The electric eye of Cyclone Bansi

4 minutes ago

Though this image may look like they come from a science fiction movie, it is in fact a photograph of tropical cyclone Bansi as seen at night by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). The image ...

Image: A Hubble sweep of the dust filaments of NGC 4217

1 hour ago

In this image the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope takes a close look at the spiral galaxy NGC 4217, located 60 million light-years away from Earth. The galaxy is seen almost perfectly edge on and is a perfect ...

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.