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Falcon 9 set for inaugural launch
Posted: Thu, Jun 3, 2010, 8:43 PM ET (0043 GMT)
Falcon 9 hotfire on pad (SpaceX) SpaceX officials said Thursday everything is ready for Friday's planned test launch of the first Falcon 9 rocket. In a teleconference Thursday officials said that last hurdle for the launch, Air Force approval of a flight termination system for the rocket, had been cleared, and they were ready to attempt a launch in a four-hour window that opens at 11 am EDT (1500 GMT) Friday; a backup opportunity is Saturday. The Falcon 9 is designed to carry much larger spacecraft than the smaller Falcon 1 rocket the company previously developed. A key role for the vehicle will be to launch SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, designed to carry cargo to the International Space Station and, later, possibly astronauts as well. SpaceX, which has spent about $400 million developing the Falcon 9, Dragon, and other systems, hopes to be able to provide launch services at a fraction of the cost of existing vehicles.
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