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. SpaceX Completes Final Milestone Before Falcon I Maiden Launch

Falcon I flight vehicle firing Merlin engine on launch pad in Vandenberg, California.

Vandenberg CA (SPX) May 30, 2005
Space Exploration Technologies announced Friday the successful completion of a full launch wet dress rehearsal, including execution of all launch operations and a hold down firing of the Falcon I at its newly activated site, Space Launch Complex 3 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

This comprehensive test exercised Falcon vehicle systems and range safety interfaces to ensure optimal operations during the upcoming launch campaign.

The test included erecting the integrated flight vehicle, a complete countdown sequence and firing of the Merlin main engine.

"Today we completed the largest milestone remaining before launch," said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX.

"In a few months, we will receive Air Force clearance to fly and Falcon I will make its maiden voyage. With the lowest cost per flight in the world for a production rocket and superlative design reliability, it has the potential to be the world leader in launches per year."

SpaceX received approval for this launch readiness test from the 30th Space Wing Commander at Vandenberg Air Force Base following unanimous recommendations from range safety, range operations, the mission director and the USAF and Aerospace Corporation independent review team.

The maiden flight of Falcon I, carrying the Defense Department's TacSat-1 satellite, is scheduled to follow the launch of the last Titan IV from Vandenberg in late summer.

SpaceX will launch two more vehicles within the upcoming twelve months and was recently awarded a $100 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for satellite launch services.

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Russia To Launch Cosmos 1 Spacecraft, Parachute
Moscow (UPI) May 30, 2005
Russia has dispatched a solar-sail spacecraft and a space parachute to waters off its northern coast to be launched from a submarine in the Barents Sea.

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