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[b]SpaceX Sets August 2 for Falcon 1 launch[/b]
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has scheduled the launch of the Falcon 1 Flight 3 mission for Saturday, August 2nd. The launch window will open at 4:00 p.m. (PDT) / 7:00 p.m. (EDT) and remain open for five hours. If launch is delayed for any reason, SpaceX has range availability to resume countdown through August 5.
Lift-off of the vehicle will occur from SpaceXХs Falcon 1launch site at the Kwajalein Atoll, about 2500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Falcon 1 launch facilities are situated on Omelek Island, part of the Reagan Test Site (RTS) at United States Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) in the Central Pacific.
Designed from the ground up by SpaceX at headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., Falcon 1 is a two-stage, liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene powered launch vehicle. The first stage is powered by a single SpaceX Merlin 1C Regenerative engine Р flying for the first time on this Flight 3 mission. A Тhold before liftoffУ system enhances reliability by permitting all systems to be verified as functioning nominally before launch is initiated. The Falcon 1 second stage is powered by a single SpaceX Kestrel engine.
Falcon 1 is the first new orbital rocket in more than a decade. Merlin is the first new American hydrocarbon engine for an orbital booster to be flown in more than 40 years and only the second new American engine of any kind in more than a quarter century. After achieving orbit, Falcon 1 will be the first privately developed, liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth.
The primary customers for the Falcon 1 launch are the Department of Defense, Government of Malaysia and NASA. Falcon 1 is carrying a payload stack of three separating satellites that will orbit at an inclination of 9 degrees: [list][*]The Trailblazer satellite was developed by SpaceDev of Poway, Calif., for the Jumpstart Program of DoDХs Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office, as a test platform to validate the hardware, software and processes of an accelerated microsatellite launch. Trailblazer is deployed from the Falcon 1 second stage shortly after the shut-down of the second stage engine, about 10 minutes into flight.
[*]Deploying four to eight minutes later will be two NASA small satellites: PRESat, a micro laboratory from NASAХs Ames Research Center, and then NanoSail-D, which will unfurl an ultra-thin solar sail, developed by NASAХs Marshall Space Flight Center, in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center.
[*]The three separating satellites attach to the Falcon 1 second stage via the Secondary Payload Adaptor and Separation System, (SPASS), developed by ATSB, a company owned by the Government of Malaysia that develops and commercializes space technology. The SPASS was engineered by Space Access Technologies of Ashburn, Va.[/list] SpaceX will provide live coverage of the Falcon 1 Flight 3 mission via webcast at: [URL=http://www.SpaceX.com.]www.SpaceX.com.[/URL] The [URL=http://www.spacex.com/testcast.php]webcast[/URL] will begin 30 minutes prior to launch and will include mission briefings, live feeds and launch coverage from the launch site at the Kawjalein Atoll, as well as a special video tour of SpaceX facilities by Elon Musk, CEO and CTO.
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