Headlines > News > LIVE COVERAGE: SUCCESS SpaceX Falcon 1 Flight 4 (updated 23:31 GMT)

LIVE COVERAGE: SUCCESS SpaceX Falcon 1 Flight 4 (updated 23:31 GMT)

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:55 pm
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SpaceX wrote history today as the first privately financed company to achieve orbit with a liquid-fueled rocket. As Elon Musk stated “this really means a lot”, it can be the beginning of significantly lower launch costs and therefore increased number of launches. After three unsuccessful flights, “fourth time’s a charm” Musk said.

For additional background information please read our Falcon 1 Flight 4 story.

The next launch on SpaceX’ launch manifest will be a Falcon 1 carrying RazakSat for Malaysia. This launch if successful will be followed then by the maiden flight of the much larger Falcon 9 rocket in the second quarter of 2009.

23:31 GMT (7:31 pm EDT): Falcon 1 has made history as the first privately developed liquid fueled launch vehicle to achieve earth orbit!

23:24 GMT (7:24 pm EDT): Successful SECO, second stage engine cut-off. The rocket has reached orbit.

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23:24 GMT (7:24 pm EDT): The Falcon is nearing engine shut-down.

23:21 GMT (7:21 pm EDT): The vehicle passed 3 km/s velocity.

23:18 GMT (7:18 pm EDT): The payload fairing has been jettisoned.

23:18 GMT (7:18 pm EDT): The rocket passed 100 km altitude.

23:18 GMT (7:18 pm EDT): The second stage has successfully ignited.

23:17 GMT (7:17 pm EDT): First stage burnout and stage separation.

23:17 GMT (7:17 pm EDT): The rocket switched to inertial guidance mode.

23:16 GMT (7:16 pm EDT): The Falcon is now supersonic and passed Max-Q, the maximum dynamic pressure.

23:15 GMT (7:15 pm EDT): Liftoff of the Falcon 1 rocket.

23:14 GMT (7:14 pm EDT): One minute until launch. The Merlin 1C will be ignited 2.5 seconds before liftoff to ensure proper operation.

23:10 GMT (7:10 pm EDT): Five minutes until launch. All systems are go for launch.

23:05 GMT (7:05 pm EDT): 10 minutes until lift-off. The final automatic sequence has been started.

23:00 GMT (7:00 pm EDT): Weather is cleared for launch.

22:50 GMT (6:50 pm EDT): 20 minutes until launch.

22:45 GMT (6:45 pm EDT): T-25 minutes.First stage is 95% full of liquid oxygen (LOX) and completely full of fuel (RP-1). The remaining 5% of LOX will be topped off later in the countdown. Second stage is 77% full of LOX, and 68% full of RP-1. Topping off the stages will occur after additional checks.

22:15 GMT (6:15 pm EDT): T-1 hour.

22:00 GMT (6:00 pm EDT): One hour until the launch window opens. The countdown is currently on hold at T-1:15 hour. The webcast is available under http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php.

September 28, 2008

September 27, 2008: The Falcon 1 is ready for the launch tomorrow at Omelek Island, Kwajalein. It will be the fourth flight of SpaceX’ Falcon 1 rocket.

A static fire was successfully completed on September 20 after which it was decided to replace a part on the oxygen supply line for the second stage.

The payload of Flight 4 consists of a mass simulator of 165 kilograms. It consists of a hexagonal aluminum alloy chamber 1.5 meters tall and attached to the standard Falcon 1 payload adaptor. It won’t be separated but remain attached to the second stage after a successful flight.

The launch window opens at 23:00 GMT (7:00 pm EDT) on September 28 and remains open until 4:00 GMT (12:00 am EDT).

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