Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX to most of us, has announced that it plans to launch its second Falcon 1 rocket on the 21st of this month. The rocket is on the pad, and the launch team have already taken it through a ‘wet dress rehearsal’ where they fuel it up and run the countdown down to T – 1 minutes.
SpaceX’s first launch of the Falcon 1 ended in failure about 30 seconds into its flight. A corroded nut failed, causing a fuel leak and fire that ultimately led to the shutdown of the main engine in mid-flight. The rocket then crashed back onto a coral reef beside its launch site.
Since then, SpaceX has made improvements in the Falcon 1 launch vehicle, essentially creating a Falcon 1.1 launcher. The company has also won a NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract to perform a cargo delivery demonstration flight to the International Space Station with their larger Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule.
OotC wishes SpaceX good fortune and a smooth flight.