SpaceX successfully performed test fire before their next launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
SpaceX finished most important test before planned for August 24 2017 launch of the Taiwan’s National Space Organization observation satellite Formosat-5 – preflight test fire of the first stage of Falcon-9.
Falcon-9 was rolled out to the Space Launch Complex 4-East launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday, August 19. Rocket fired all of its nine Merlin-1DS engines for few seconds; rocket confirmed its readiness and passed test fire without any problems.
Launch is scheduled for Thursday, August 24, at 18:50 UTC. Rocket will deliver weighing only 475 kg satellite to 720 km orbit. This means that most of the payload space will not be used – SpaceX failed to find any customer to share space under the payload fairing with Taiwan’s National Space Organization. It is worth to remind that launch cost Taiwanese government in 2011 only $23 million what is around 35% of present cost of the single launch of Falcon-9. This mission surely will not be most profitable launch in 2017 for SpaceX, still with small payload rocket will be able to perform landing. It is not possible when rocket delivers large payload to orbit and burns all the fuel to reach orbit.