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Falcon performs pad engine test
Posted: Sat, May 28, 2005, 8:46 AM ET (1246 GMT)
Falcon 1 engine test at VAFB (SpaceX) The first Falcon 1, a new small launch vehicle developed by an aerospace startup company, successfully performed an engine test on its launch pad Friday, the final major hurdle before its inaugural launch this summer. The Falcon 1, bolted to its launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, fired its main engine for five seconds Friday, the climax of a complete launch rehearsal. Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), developers of the Falcon 1, called the launch rehearsal and engine test a success, noting it was the "largest milestone" remaining before the rocket's actual launch. That launch is planned for later this summer, after a Titan 4 lifts off from the spaceport in July. The first Falcon 1 will carry TacSat 1, an experimental communications satellite for the US military. SpaceX, founded by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, hopes that the $6-million Falcon 1 will be able to capture a significant share of the market for small satellites for the military and other customers. SpaceX is also developing a larger vehicle, the Falcon 5, and has suggested even larger vehicles may be developed in the future.
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