Falcon 9-R Completes First Long Duration Firing

If you’ve ever been to Key West, you probably visited Mallory Square docks around sunset to look for the elusive “Green Flash” on the western horizon. It is a beautiful sight to be sure, but for space exploration enthusiasts, it perhaps pales in comparison to another green flash, that emitted by the tea-tab ignition which marks the start up sequence of the first long duration firing for the Falcon 9-R and its Merlin 1D Engines.   Word of the test, which was conducted at the company’s McGregor, Texas  development facility and generated up to 1.5 million pounds of vacuum thrust, came as it usually does in the form of a tweet from Elon Musk, this one at 3:57 AM this morning.  

Completion of the test marks a major milestone for SpaceX on the way to a long anticipated first flight of the Falcon 9-R (the rocket formerly known as Falcon 9 v1.1)  and the beginning  of what could be a transformational  era in the history of spaceflight, as the company seeks to progressively introduce the world’s first fully reusable space transportation system.

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  1. As much as I want this test to have been a success, was this test an abort? The full F9 v1.1 first stage burn time is 185 seconds, this test made it to 112 seconds. And what was it falling from the stage after the burn ends? Molten metal? And the audio at the end? Sounded like “It fell apart.” “Everything pretty much sucks.” “Yeah.”

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