Miami, June 8 (IANS) United Launch Alliance (ULA) company’s Vulcan Centaur rocket ignited its engines for a few seconds on a platform in Florida and came closer to making its first flight, which the firm hopes to make this year. Is.
On Wednesday night, the rocket completed a static fire test, called Flight Readiness Firing (FRF), on a platform at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida (USA), through which, after loading fuel, its first Both engines of the stage were fired. for six seconds.
During that period, “the engines accelerated to the planned level for two seconds and then shut down,” the company said on its website about the test, which began at 9:05 p.m. local time on Wednesday (01:05 GMT on Thursday). ) started. And in which all rocket and ground control systems were tested.
“It’s a great milestone. This is the closest we’ve come to launching a rocket without actually launching it,” Mark Peller, Vulcan’s vice president of development, said after the exercise, according to SpaceNews.
ULA had planned to conduct this test on May 25, but an anomaly discovered in the ignition systems of the engines of its new class of rockets made it necessary to suspend the test and return the Vulcan a few hours before it was to be carried out. Was. Centaur to a hangar at the Floridan complex.
After the test on Wednesday night, the firm will remove the 62-meter-tall rocket from the launch pad to study the information and prepare for its first mission, Cert-1, whose launch date is yet to be decided.
As ULA President Tory Bruno pointed out months ago, before this mission, the firm’s engineers must first resolve a hydrogen leak found in the rocket’s second stage during tests conducted last March.
“The tests are an integral part of our launch vehicle development program and we will fly when we are confident it is safe to do so,” the firm said last night after the static fire test.
The first flight of the Vulcan Centaur will carry Astrobiotic Company’s Peregrine Lunar Lander; It will deploy two prototype broadband satellites from Amazon’s Kuiper project and carry a payload from Celestis, the company that provides “burial” for people’s cremated remains.
The Vulcan Centaur, which will replace the two rockets currently flying the company, the Atlas V and Delta IV, is powered by a pair of BE-4 engines made by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company.