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SpaceX Delays Launch, Faces New Problems With Static Fire Test

The SpaceX Kwajalein launch pad.
by Staff Writers
El Segundo CA (SPX) Jan 22, 2007
During our final check-outs prior to static fire, we uncovered an anomaly with the thrust vector control (TVC) pitch actuator on the second stage that will result in launch being pushed to February. Since this is not used during the static fire, we have decided to push forward with that test in order to acquire valuable data on engine ignition, pad acoustics, and the overall system response. The static fire was planned to occur between Saturday and Tuesday (California time).

This test will proceed very slowly and then only burn for about four seconds, so will not be webcast to avoid boring people silly. We will post a video afterwards.

Upon completion of the static fire, we will take the rocket back into the hangar to thoroughly investigate the TVC issue. With the range available to us only until January 23 (Kwaj needs to reconfigure for an incoming Minuteman mission), this means launch is now planned for mid-February. As I've mentioned previously, don't hold your breath for this launch.

Given the large number of robustness improvements and the fact that our vehicle/pad health verification system has increased from about 30 checks to almost 1000, shifts in the launch date are to be expected. Overall, the SpaceX team is quite happy with the smooth progress so far.

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Launch Window To Open At Poker Flat Research Range
Fairbanks, AK (SPX) Jan 15, 2007
Five NASA rockets are scheduled to launch from Poker Flat Research Range this month. The launch window opens on Jan. 10, at 10 p.m. AST, and runs until 4 a.m. AST, each night through Wednesday, Jan. 27. The five rockets will launch in two separate campaigns. Marc Lessard is the principal investigator of the first campaign, dubbed ROPA, short for Rocket Observation for Pulsating Aurora that will send a large Black Brant XII sounding rocket through pulsating aurora north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

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