A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully performed a static fire test on Thursday, completing a key readiness test before its scheduled launch from Florida with a commercial television broadcast satellite next week.
Kept down by heavy-duty restraints, the rocket fired up its 9-Merlin 1D engines for around three seconds at 6 p. m. EST or 2300 GMT at the launch pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Falcon 9 rocket will be returned to the hangar at the historic launch pad to attach it to the EchoStar 23 spacecraft, a commercial TV broadcast satellite that will conduct video programming to consumers in Brazil.
SpaceX leased the pad 39A from government-run NASA in 2014 under a twenty-year contract. It made several modifications to the pad to ensure Falcon 9 flights' success in the aftermath of the devastating explosion at Complex
The static fire test is a common step in SpaceX's launch campaigns. Such tests offer a chance to wring out any kinks in the rocket as well as ground systems to ensure the mission's success.
Carrying the television broadcast satellite, the Falcon 9 rocket will launch at the opening of the two-and-a-half hour window at 1:34 a. m. EDT or 0534 GMT on coming Tuesday.