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Hold-down firing completed ahead of Sunday’s Falcon 9 launch

Nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9's first stage fired up Monday for a static fire test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Credit: SpaceX

Nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9’s first stage fired up Monday for a static fire test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX’s launch team ran through a traditional preflight test Monday, putting a Falcon 9 rocket through a mock countdown, loading it with a supply of liquid propellant and briefly firing its engines on a launch pad in California ahead of this weekend’s liftoff with a U.S.-European oceanography satellite.

The first stage booster’s nine Merlin 1D engines ignited at 8:35 p.m. EST Monday (0135 GMT Tuesday) while hold-down devices kept the rocket firmly on the ground at Vandenberg Air Force Base on California’s Central Coast.

The engines fired for approximately seven seconds, according to NASA, which is managing the launch of the Jason 3 ocean research satellite.

“The initial review of the data appears to show a satisfactory test, but will be followed by a more thorough data review on Tuesday,” NASA said in a statement.

The Jason 3 spacecraft is already enclosed inside the Falcon 9 rocket’s payload fairing and will be attached to the launcher’s second stage as soon as Tuesday, according to NASA.

A launch readiness review is scheduled for Friday to give the final formal go-ahead to start the Falcon 9 countdown leading toward liftoff at 1:42:18 p.m. EST Sunday (10:42:18 a.m. PST; 1842:18 GMT).

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Source: Space Flight

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Hold-down firing completed ahead of Sunday’s Falcon 9 launch

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