The crucial test clears the way for a launch in early February.
The company did not immediately provide details about the technical performance of the booster during the test. On Twitter, however, company founder Elon Musk said the test fire was “good,” and that this cleared the way for a launch within “a week or so.” Although the company has not provided a date for launch, it is likely to occur no earlier than some time in early February.
Musk has promised excitement during the launch—either because the most powerful rocket since the space shuttle will take off and soar into space, or there will be some kind of spectacular in-flight anomaly during the test flight. No rocket with three cores and so many engines has successfully launched from Earth before.
Because of the experimental nature of the flight, SpaceX has chosen a whimsical payload, Musk’s “midnight cherry Tesla Roadster.” The vehicle will be sent in an elongated orbit that will take it out into the Solar System, near Mars. “Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent,” Musk said.
Listing image by SpaceX
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Apollo Program, Ars Technica brings you an in depth look at the Apollo missions through the eyes of the participants.