Got this photo in from Space Exploration Technologies during the night. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is sitting on pad 40 at Cape Canaveral. Over the weekend, the team fired the rocket’s nine engines in a test run lasting several seconds.
Next step, a test launch to orbit, some time in the next two to three weeks.
Falcon 9 is powerful enough to send 7 astronauts to low Earth orbit. For now it will be pressed into service by NASA for cargo delivery flights to the International Space Station. But Falcon 9, along with the SpaceX Dragon capsule, is number one on the runway as America’s next manned spaceship, gearing up to take over the Space Shuttle’s duties when it retires this year.
Photo credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX