SpaceX is progressing well through what they hope to be their busiest year yet, now readying their Falcon 9 for its customary static fire test ahead of the upcoming Paz and Starlink demosats launch. The static fire is expected to take place on Sunday. Launch is scheduled for February 17 from Vandenberg Air Force Base SLC-4E, should all go well during the static fire test. SpaceX has also been upgrading many facilities at and around the launch site, including readying their new nearby landing zone for supporting future Return-To-Launch-Site (RTLS) landings at Vandenberg.
Static Fire and Launch:
SpaceX is continuing to work through their ambitious 2018 manifest, aiming for their fourth launch this year, which will take the 1350kg Paz satellite and two 400kg Starlink demo satellites into to a 514km Sun-Synchronous Orbit. The first stage – flight-proven core 1038 – is expected to be expended with a possible ocean landing, as the core has been observed without landing legs.
One of the largest and most important steps to be taken by SpaceX before launch is the static fire, a test that involves going through every step of a simulated launch countdown on the pad, including fueling the rocket and ...