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[b]SpaceX Announces Completion of Acceptance Testing For Falcon 9 First and Second Stages[/b]
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces the successful completion of acceptance testing of both the Falcon 9 first and second stages in preparation for the first flight of Falcon 9. Acceptance testing took place at SpaceX's Texas Test Site, a 300-acre structural and propulsion testing facility, located just outside of Waco, Texas.
This recent series of tests subjected both stages to a variety of structural load and proof pressure tests to verify acceptability for flight. Acceptance testing began in late summer with the first stage and concluded last week at SpaceX's Texas facility with completion of acceptance testing for the second stage.
“The successful completion of these tests marks another key milestone in our preparation for Falcon 9's first flight,” said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. “Our team will now move forward with a static fire of the first and second stages, the last major milestone before hardware is transferred to SpaceX's launch pad at Cape Canaveral.”
The inaugural flight of Falcon 9 is a demonstration flight, and is expected to occur one to three months after Falcon 9 arrival at Cape Canaveral next month. The final launch date will depend on range scheduling, weather conditions and time required to make adjustments for any vehicle-to-ground equipment interactions. For its first flight, Falcon 9 will launch a Dragon spacecraft qualification unit into orbit to provide SpaceX with valuable aerodynamic and performance information.
The second flight of the Falcon 9/Dragon system is the first flight under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, a new commercial-government partnership under which SpaceX will demonstrate the ability to dock with the International Space Station, transfer cargo, and return cargo safely to Earth.
[i]A Falcon 9 second stage mounted on a Falcon 9 interstage vents vapor from its liquid oxygen tank during acceptance testing at SpaceX's Texas Test Site outside of Waco.[/i]
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