CAPE CANAVERAL — SpaceX attempted to test fire its Falcon 9 rocket, a mere four days before the rocket is scheduled to make its second flight – with limited results. The rocket was scheduled to conduct a 2-second test burn of its Merlin engines – however, the test lasted barely a second when it was required to shut down.
A similar event happened before the maiden flight of the Falcon 9 this past June. When that rocket was test fired it too shut down early. SpaceX will try again Dec. 4 to test fire the rocket. The Falcon 9’s test firing was aborted due one of the engines experiencing chamber pressure above what is considered normal.
It is unclear what will happen if the company does not have a successful test of the Falcon 9. The Dec. 7 launch is to be the first under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract that the commercial space firm has with NASA. The value of this resupply contract is worth an estimated $1.6 billion.
SpaceX plans to launch a version of its Dragon spacecraft on top of the Falcon 9. This spacecraft just received its reentry license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The company as a whole has been placed in the national spotlight due to president Obama’s favoring the private space firm’s launch site over those operated by NASA during his April 15 visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.