NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stands next to SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle as he speaks to the media at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral August 23, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
SpaceX announced that it had successfully test-fired the engines of its Falcon 9 rocket on Monday in preparation for its October 7 launch. The company will conduct its first official cargo delivery to the International Space Station, NBC News reported.
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On Saturday, SpaceX completed a successful static-fire test at NASA’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. In a Twitter update, the company said the test was the “last major test” before its launch. According to NBC News, the rocket was held down while nine Merlin engines were tested at 80 tons of thrust.
Sunday’s upcoming launch is the first under a 12-flight, $1.6 billion NASA contract to resupply the International Space Station. NBC News reported that the company sent an unmanned Dragon capsule into space in a successful NASA-funded demonstration flight.
The company is working towards a modified version of the Dragon capsule that would allow NASA astronauts to transfer to and from the space station. According to NBC News, SpaceX plans to begin in 2015-2017.
Since retiring its space shuttle fleet, NASA has had to depend on Russia to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station, Daily Tech reported.
NBC News reported that Orbital Science Corp., another space travel company, is working to launch its own supply system to the International Space Station. A hold-down test for the Antares rocket at Orbital’s Virginia launch pad is scheduled to begin sometime next week.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch at 8:34 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 7. Daily Tech reported that SpaceX will be the first American private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.
WATCH THE SPACEX STATIC FIRE TEST ON SEPTEMBER 29: