Satnews Daily
February 11th, 2010

SpaceX — Falcon 9 Finishing School

The Falcon 9 vehicle undergoes final integration in the hangar at the SpaceX launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The vehicle's nine Merlin 1C engines are at far left, and second stage is at far right. Credit SpaceX
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has announced that all flight hardware for the debut launch of the Falcon 9 vehicle has arrived at the SpaceX launch site, Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Final delivery included the Falcon 9 second stage, which recently completed testing at SpaceX's test facility in McGregor, Texas.

Flight hardware for the inaugural launch of Falcon 9 rocket undergoing final integration in the hangar at SpaceX's Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida. Components include: Dragon spacecraft qualification unit (left), second stage with Merlin Vacuum engine (center), first stage with nine Merlin 1C engines (right). Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX has now initiated full vehicle integration of the 47 meter (154 feet) tall, 3.6 meter (12 feet) diameter rocket, which will include a Dragon spacecraft qualification unit. Following full vehicle integration, SpaceX will conduct a static firing to demonstrate flight readiness and confirm operation of ground control systems in preparation for actual launch. Though designed from the beginning to transport crew, SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft will initially be used to transport cargo. Falcon 9 and Dragon were selected by NASA to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) once the Shuttle program is retired. The $1.6B contract represents 12 flights for a minimum of 20 tons to and from the ISS with the first demonstration flights beginning in 2010.