Can you think of a better way to start the week than to watch a test firing of an awesome new rocket engine? No, I can’t either.
Today’s dose of rocket thrust comes courtesy of Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, from the company’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.
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Building on the technology behind SpaceX’s Merlin 1C engines that blasted the Falcon 9 into orbit on the last three occasions, this is the new and upgraded Merlin 1D that successfully passed this most recent test firing with flying colors.
According to the SpaceX press release, the Merlin 1D firing lasted 185 seconds, delivering 147,000 pounds of thrust — the full duration and power required for a Falcon 9 rocket launch.
During the previous three launches — including the historic SpaceX Dragon capsule mission to the International Space Station (ISS) that blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on May 22 — nine Merlin 1C’s got the Falcon 9 into space. The engines performed flawlessly.
The Merlin 1D upgrade makes it the most efficient booster engine ever built, and the nine upgraded Merlins will deliver nearly 1.5 million pounds of thrust during launch.
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“This is another important milestone in our efforts to push the boundaries of space technology,” said SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk. “With the Merlin 1D powering the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, SpaceX will be capable of carrying a full range of payloads to orbit.”
It looks like Musk’s dream of pushing mankind beyond orbit remains on course.
Image credit: SpaceX