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A First For Falcon 9 As Five Go Hot

Test firing of five Merlin 1C engines at the SpaceX test facility in McGregor Texas. Powered by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene, the five Merlins produced nearly half a million pounds of thrust during the test. A total of nine Merlin 1C engines will power the Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: Business Wire
by Staff Writers
McGregor TX (SPX) Jun 06, 2008
Space Exploration Technologies conducted the first five-engine firing of its Falcon 9 medium to heavy lift rocket at its Texas Test Facility outside McGregor on Thursday, May 29. At full power the engines generated almost half a million pounds of force, and consumed 1,750 lbs of fuel and liquid oxygen per second.

This five-engine test again sets the record as the most powerful test yet on the towering 235-foot tall test stand.

The test of the five Merlin 1C engines, arranged in a cross pattern like the Saturn V moon rocket, is the last step before firing the full complement of nine engines, scheduled for this summer. With all engines operating, the Falcon 9 generates over one million pounds of thrust in vacuum - four times the maximum thrust of a 747 aircraft.

"This is the first time that we've added more than one engine at a time, and all phases of integration and testing went smoothly," said Tom Mueller, Vice President of Propulsion for SpaceX. "As with previous tests, we saw no unexpected interactions between the engines, and are on schedule for adding four more engines."

The first Falcon 9 will arrive at the SpaceX launch site at Cape Canaveral by the end of 2008. The next flight of SpaceX's smaller Falcon 1 rocket is scheduled for late June or July of 2008.

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NASA chief backs proposal for European spaceship
Paris (AFP) June 5, 2008
NASA chief Mike Griffin on Thursday threw his weight behind calls for Europe to build its own manned spacecraft.







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