Enhanced Falcon 9 Booster Raises Excitement, Concern, As Return to Flight Date Nears
Three months after the catastrophic loss of its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)-7 Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS)—which appeared to have fallen victim to a failed first-stage helium tank strut, provided by an unnamed external supplier—SpaceX stands ready to resume launches of its workhorse Falcon 9, albeit in a heavily modified form, perhaps as soon as mid-November. Last week, a successful 15-second static firing of the upgraded “Merlin 1D+” engines, destined for the Falcon v1.2 (internally known as the “Falcon 9 v1.1 Full Thrust”) variant of the vehicle, shook the ground of the new Falcon Booster Test Stand at SpaceX’s facility in McGregor, Texas, for the first time. Although SpaceX previously stressed that no provisional date had been released for the Falcon 9’s Return to Flight (RTF) mission, recent comments by CEO Elon Musk in Berlin indicate that another launch might be attempted within six to eight weeks.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.americaspace.com