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Some big milestones for SpaceX coming up

[Crossposted at the Space Trade Association]

SpaceX ready for another launch and key Commercial Crew test
[Via NASASpaceFlight.com]

SpaceX has conducted a Static Fire test on the next Falcon 9 rocket set to launch out of Florida, tasked with the lofting of the TurkmenistanSat spacecraft on April 27. SpaceX also passed a Test Readiness Review (TRR) for its Dragon 2 Pad Abort test, which is currently scheduled to take place on May 5. Both events will be conducted from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX Static Fire:

The TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat 1 (TurkmenSat 1) mission follows hot on the heels of the Falcon 9 launch with the CRS-6 Dragon that was was successfully lofted into orbit and has  since arrived at the International Space Station (ISS).

The original schedule called for the TurkmenistanSat to be launched ahead of CRS-6. However, just prior to its planned Static Fire test, SpaceX opted to switch the running order to allow for confidence checks relating to “bad trends” in a number of helium pressurization system’s bottles (COPVs).

Those checks were completed ahead of the CRS-6 launch, allowing for two launches in quick succession.

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One key aspect of the SpaceX engine design is being able to check everything out with a static fire test actually on the launchpad. They essentially go through every aspect of a real launch, even filling up the tanks and starting the engines.

So now they look forward to the next launch.

But the real milestone, particularly for returning people to space on American rockets, is the abort test of the Dragon capsule on May 5. They will test the thrusters needed to move the capsule in case of an abort.

It is a necessary test on the way to putting a Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9.

Fingers crossed.

Image: SpaceX