While conducting a static fire test for its Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX accidentally started a brush fire at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, May 28, afternoon.
The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket was given a vertical liftoff from launchpad 39A before May 28 dawn. The rocket was loaded with liquid oxygen and super-chilled kerosene propellant fuels before the launcher’s nine Merlin 1D engines ignited.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that the wildfire was brought under control by sprinkling “numerous” drops of water from a helicopter. The four-acre brush fire started on a small island located near the 39A launchpad.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Test Starts Brush Fire
SpaceX conducts a traditional static fire test before all SpaceX launch campaigns. The static fire test is a rehearsal that is conducted before the actual launch day to check the Falcon 9 rocket’s promptness before the liftoff.
The wildfire started by the Falcon 9 static fire test resulted in a blaze breaking out in an area with short grass. The fire, however, did not cause damage to any human life or structures and was brought under control by 7:30 p.m.
SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Resupply Mission
The Falcon 9 rocket will be used to lift off the unpiloted Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station on Thursday, June 1 from Kennedy Space Center’s historic launch pad 39A.
The Dragon spacecraft will be carrying a payload weighing nearly 6,000 pounds. The payload includes the super-dense collapsed stellar remnants of a supernova explosion, along with a NASA experiment aimed to study quick-spinning neutron stars.
Apart from these, the SpaceX spacecraft would also carry rodents to the astronauts living in the ISS to help them study medical remedies for osteoporosis and bone loss.
The primary structure of the cargo capsule was used previously in a logistics mission that was sent to the ISS in September 2014. At the time, the spacecraft remained in orbit for 34 days before diving in the Pacific Ocean.
With Thursday’s liftoff, it will be the first time SpaceX will reuse a Dragon spacecraft’s pressurized compartment for a space travel mission. However, the trunk segment at the rear of the space capsule is a brand new one as this part gets burned up by the Earth’s atmosphere after each mission. The new trunk has been designed to fit large cargo modules.
With this take off, SpaceX will complete its 11th successful cargo supply launch mission to the ISS since 2012. If all goes well, then the Dragon supply ship will reach the ISS on June 4 and is scheduled to return to Earth on July 2.