SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Saturday in preparation for liftoff Sunday with the company’s next batch of Starlink internet satellites.
Test-firings on the launch pad were once a customary part of every SpaceX launch campaign, but the company is phasing out the static fire tests for most missions as the Falcon 9 launch cadence has ramped up to an average of one flight per week.
The rocket’s nine Merlin engines fired for about seven seconds at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) Saturday while hold-down clamps keep the Falcon 9 firmly on the ground at pad 39A.
The Falcon 9 is set to lift off Sunday at 9:38 a.m. EDT (1338 GMT) with 53 Starlink internet satellites, marking SpaceX’s 33rd launch of the year, and the 53rd dedicated launch for the Starlink network.
Email the author.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.