Falcon 9, plus lightning towers, stand proud, for the first time, over the Cape (SpaceX)

SpaceX Falcon 9 Now Vertical at Cape Canaveral (Gallery)

11 Jan , 2009 by

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Yesterday (Jan. 10th) was a huge day for SpaceX. For the first time ever, one of their rockets (the mighty Falcon 9) was hoisted vertically in preparation for the Falcon 9 maiden launch (presumably) in the next few weeks. No launch window has been announced as yet, but I am sure SpaceX will be working hard to ignite the nine Merlin-1C engines as soon as possible. Static tests have proven the launch system works, and the successful Falcon 1 flight in September proved SpaceX technology was a reality, so all that is needed is for the largest Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) in the SpaceX fleet to take to the skies, showing the world SpaceX is extending its lead in the commercial space race…

Falcon 9 vertical on the launch pad (SpaceX)

Falcon 9 vertical on the launch pad (SpaceX)

It is strange to think back to October when I saw a huge aluminium tube sitting on the SpaceX rocket workshop floor, pre-paint job. Before I realised it, that aluminium first stage shell was painted, branded, and shipped from Hawthorn (CA) to Cape Canaveral (FL) late last year. On December 30th, the Falcon 9 was fully integrated, and yesterday, the whole thing was hoisted upright between four launch pad lightning rods.

Having only just checked out the SpaceX website, I’ve realised the space launch company has released loads of great photos of the progress being made at the new Falcon 9 home, so I thought I’d post a preview of some of these images at the end of this short news update.

Falcon 9 is now vertical at the Cape!

After a very smooth vehicle mating operation yesterday, we began the process of raising Falcon 9 at 12:45pm EST and approximately 30 minutes later, Falcon 9 was vertical at the Cape. The process of taking Falcon 9 vertical was a critical step in preparation for our first Falcon 9 launch later this year. This accomplishment culminates several months of rapid progress, made possible only through the hard work and dedication of the entire SpaceX team.SpaceX Updates (Jan. 10th, 2009)

With this kind of speedy progress being made at Cape Canaveral, plus the recent $1.6 billion contract signed by NASA for 12 SpaceX space station cargo flights for the next decade, it’s little wonder Elon Musk’s rocket launch startup might be feeling quite happy with themselves. They’ve even put together a nice time lapse video of Falcon 9 going vertical

Update (Jan. 12th): For those of you (below) who have concerns about the pollution dumped in the atmosphere by rockets, check out Ethan Siegel’s article on Starts With A Bang all about the pollution of rocketry

Musk standing next to the nine Merlin-1C engines of the Falcon 9 a few days ago (SpaceX)

Musk standing next to the nine Merlin-1C engines of the Falcon 9 on Jan. 7th (SpaceX)

Shortly after the fairing was attached to the booster stages on Dec. 30th 2008 (SpaceX)

Shortly after the fairing was attached to the booster stages on Dec. 30th 2008 (SpaceX)

Before and after: The first stage of the Falcon 9 back in Oct. 2008 at the SpaceX Hawthorn HQ (left) and the same first stage arriving in Cape Canaveral in Dec. 2008 (right). Credit: Ian O'Neill/SpaceX

Before and after: The first stage of the Falcon 9 back in Oct. 2008 at the SpaceX Hawthorn HQ (left) and the same first stage arriving in Cape Canaveral in Dec. 2008 (right). Credit: Ian O'Neill/SpaceX


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Eduardo
Guest
Eduardo
January 11, 2009 8:02 AM

El tipo de iniciativa privada que me agrada. Bravo por SpaceX!!!

lawmc
Guest
lawmc
January 11, 2009 8:12 AM

9 engines?

how redundant is the system as a whole???

are there any other launch system which use large amounts of engines (barring the failed N-1’s)?

Maxwell
Member
Maxwell
January 11, 2009 8:34 AM

Russian rocket, namely the Soyuz, have a large number of small engines.
Its cheaper to use dozens of the same mass produced engine and can provide some redundancy… altho depending on the altitude they want to reach, I cant say how much slack there is remaining if one engine or more were to fail.

I’d be worried that more moving parts = a greater chance for disaster… but then I’m no rocket scientist.

uncledan
Member
uncledan
January 11, 2009 8:34 AM

This launch and others like it should be halted indefinitely until it’s carbon footprint and environmental impact can be accounted for. With global warming accelerating, temperatures rising all over the planet, and cities going underwater, launcing a massive smoke-belching object into the sky for the purposes of testing simply makes no sense. Perhaps a tax or a series of fees could be levied to compensate for the damage. An board of review staffed by scientists with good environmentalist credentials could quickly be drawn up and an assessment could be made.

buster
Guest
buster
January 11, 2009 8:43 AM

yes, bse5150, why don’t you go and submit your idea someplace other than this and in the meanwhile let the people work with their rockets

Maxwell
Member
Maxwell
January 11, 2009 8:43 AM

…how about “NO”?

Maxwell
Member
Maxwell
January 11, 2009 8:45 AM

No in response to doing a carbon study that is.
Spaceflight is too important an endeavor to dick around with red tape.

Sili
Member
Sili
January 11, 2009 9:29 AM

Nevermind the fact that I doubt one rocket has any significant impact.

But of course it’s a lot easier to gripe about than to get 100 million USAnians to adjust the tyrepressures or,GUT forbid, start driving cars with the same mileage as the EU average.

I’m sure the numbers have been run anyway.

Jon Hanford
Member
Jon Hanford
January 11, 2009 9:32 AM

Kudos to both buster & Maxwell for posting what I was thinking. There are a multitude of sites for bse5150 to post comments of this type, but Universe Today is certainly not one of them. This is not to say that environmental issues are not worthy of study, serious debate of a matter of great consequence to all inhabitants of Earth. But the solutions he has proposed are simply not feasible or very practical to address this environmental conundrum. Great job, BTW, to all at Space-X & NASA personnel working on this project. Let’s hope the rest of this project goes as well as the early rounds of tests on the spacecraft.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
January 11, 2009 10:19 AM

The engines look like the space craft engines of the very first movie of Star Wars when Princess Leia got captured.

Derek
Guest
Derek
January 11, 2009 10:39 AM

Holy crap, they got this thing built so quickly its amazing.

Conic
Guest
January 11, 2009 11:13 AM

“With global warming accelerating, temperatures rising all over the planet, and cities going underwater.”

Not that my comment will be posted, for some reason, but if It does get through the filter…

What cities are going under water? You think that would have been in the news… I guess I just missed it.

One credible study recently found that space rockets account for something like .0001% of carbon emissions. So your argument falls into the “wrong” pile.

RetardedFishFrog
Guest
RetardedFishFrog
January 11, 2009 11:54 AM

Hooray for SpaceX. The Falcon 9 looks a lot like the Ares 1. I’m sure the guts of it are entirely different.

Frank Glover
Guest
Frank Glover
January 11, 2009 1:26 PM

bse5150:

So, did you also have a problem with the recent ground testing of the Falcon-9 engines?

Do we even get to have fireworks anymore?

David R.
Member
David R.
January 11, 2009 1:47 PM

Poo poo on the environmental impact study. Here’s a study for you. Quit driving SUV’s, ride a bike, smoke cigars inside a plastic bubble, and recycle your own urine. Then talk to me about Space X being halted.

ad
Guest
ad
January 11, 2009 2:26 PM

Nice one bse5150, good leg pull. Cribbed from RealClimate I presume.

Schultz
Guest
Schultz
January 11, 2009 5:10 PM

Hazzah!

Polaris93
Member
January 12, 2009 2:52 AM

bse5150 — you want to derail programs that have the potential to put countless solar collectors in orbit, enough to provide power for the whole world at minimal cost without *any* carbon footprint, so you can do your study? You are an idiot — a dangerous one that could, if left unchecked, really hurt the planet and all its life. Talk about stealth anti-life . . .

Vanamonde
Guest
Vanamonde
January 11, 2009 8:20 PM

Has there ever been an orbit with such a small gantry/launch tower??? Go, baby, go! Hat’s off to SpaceX!!

Sergio
Guest
Sergio
January 12, 2009 4:09 AM

I wish to send all my best wishes to the SpaceX team. 2008 has been a fantastic year for the private space sector, and I guess 2009 will give us much more emotions. Godspeed Falcon!

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