The Merlin 1D engine was judged flight-ready after firing for a total of nearly 33 minutes over the course of 28 different tests at SpaceX's rocket-development facility in McGregor, Texas. The new engine will soon be incorporated into the company's Falcon 9 rocket, officials said.
"The Merlin 1D successfully performed every test throughout this extremely rigorous qualification program," SpaceX CEO and chief designer Elon Musk said in a statement. "With flight qualification now complete, we look forward to flying the first Merlin 1D engines on Falcon 9’s Flight 6 this year."
The Falcon 9 has flown five times to date, most recently on March 1, when it blasted the robotic Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station on California-based SpaceX's second contracted supply run for NASA. According to the company's launch manifest, flight number six will launch a Canadian communications satellite, likely in mid-June. [SpaceX's Amazing Rockets & Spaceships (Photos)]
Company officials say the Merlin 1D will provide a big boost for the Falcon 9, which until now has been powered by Merlin 1C engines in its first stage (nine of them, hence the name).
Join us on our
Share this page with your friends
on your favorite social network: