(NEW YORK) — SpaceX is set to perform a key static fire test on its Falcon 9 rocket engines Friday and if all goes according to plan, could launch the latest version of the rocket in a few days, the company said Friday.
Elon Musk’s private space company will conduct the key test before launching 11 satellites into orbit for the company Orbcomm on the back of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket. It will mark the first launch for the company since an unmanned rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded in June shortly after liftoff.
The static fire will ensure the readiness of the newly-upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, which boasts more thrust, before company officials move forward with launching precious cargo into space.
“The Falcon 9 rocket remains vertical at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,” a statement posted online Friday by Orbcomm said. “The teams will continue working towards a static fire today to verify the rocket’s readiness and aim towards launching a few days after the static fire is completed.”
The upgraded version of the Falcon 9 stands slightly taller at 229.6 feet and has more thrust, meaning it can lift a heavier load into space.
It’s unclear if SpaceX will attempt to land its Falcon 9 booster after liftoff, proving the rocket can be reused. The company has made previous attempts that have come close to landing on a floating barge, but have crash-landed or just barely missed the mark.
The ability to reuse rockets is something Musk said would lower costs and help revolutionize space travel.
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