January 11th, 2020 -
Space X is starting the New Year off running, completing the worlds first rocket launch of the new decade, becoming the largest satellite operating agency, and taking another crucial step towards their Commercial Crew goals, all within the first ten days of January.
This morning, just after 10:10am, launch teams at LC-39A preformed a Static-Fire test of the Falcon 9 booster which will be flying Crew Dragon on the In-Flight Abort Test (IFA) next week. Space X has since confirmed that the Static-Fire rehearsal was a success via Twitter. Space X and NASA Kennedy Space Center are currently targeting Saturday, January 18th, at 8:00am EST for the launch of IFA.
Space X via Twitter : https://twitter.com/SpaceX/status/1216022644614545409
The flight profile for this mission, as detailed by Space X filings with the FAA and other supervising agencies, will take Falcon 9 (with no landing hardware/dummy second stage) and a brand new Crew Dragon vehicle, to an altitude of approximately 35,000ft. During the point of Maximum Aerodynamic pressure (Max-Q) the Falcon's 9 Merlin engines will simultaneously shut-down, simulating a loss of thrust, which will then trigger the Crew Dragon's Super-Draco motor's to pull the spacecraft safely away from the rocket. Following this rapid separation, Falcon 9 is expected to break apart mid-flight. Crew Dragon should then splash down, 30km down-range in the Atlantic Ocean. IFA will be a vital test for Space X and customer NASA, as it is the final step of certification for Dragon before humans can be flown, hopefully this year. Returning Americans to Low Earth Orbit, from American soil.
Additionally, Space X saw their first success of 2020 earlier this week, with the launch of StarLink-2. On Monday, January 6th, Falcon 9 booster 1049.4, departed Pad-40 towards Low Earth Orbit, with the second batch of operational StarLink satellites on-board. The deployment of these additional 60 satellites brought the company's total number of satellites in orbit to nearly 180, making Space X the largest satellite provider globally. During the Space X live-stream of the StarLink-2 mission, narrator's mentioned that StarLink service to North American customers should be available by the end of 2020; and with an additional 23 dedicated StarLink missions slated for the year, this seems like a feasible achievement.
So are you excited to see a Falcon firework show above the Space-Coast for IFA. And do you think that Space X can provide satellite internet coverage to North America before end of year? Be sure to like, comment, share, and let us know! For more Spaceflight news, photo content, and discussion, stay tuned right here to https://hoverslamspace.com/, and all of our social media pages!