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[i]Taking advantage of a picturesque day in the Sunshine State, the privately-developed Falcon 9 rocket came to life Friday [Feb. 26] afternoon as engineers loaded 75,000 gallons of propellant aboard the vehicle during a simulated countdown.[/i]
[i]Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and CEO, says a few patches of cork covering the exterior of the first stage became debonded during the practice countdown, but the issue is not considered serious.
Super-cold liquid oxygen causes the rocket's structure to contract during fueling, apparently triggering the cork to debond.
"The whole first stage is covered in special high temperature space grade cork, not for insulation but to allow for the possibility of recovery via parachute," Musk told Spaceflight Now. "Some of the cork on the LOX tank did debond during LOX load, as we didn't allow enough contraction joints."[/i]
[i]SpaceX just lifted the Falcon 9 rocket vertical at Complex 40, as engineers apparently begin final preparations for a brief test of the booster's nine first stage engines today.
The static fire is scheduled for late this morning or early this afternoon, SpaceX officials tell Spaceflight Now.
During the test, the launch team will load propellant into the 154-foot-tall rocket and light the engines at the end of a simulated countdown for about three-and-a-half seconds.[/i]
[i]The engine test has been rescheduled for tomorrow, according to SpaceX.[/i]
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