SpaceX Prepares for Second Falcon 1 Rocket Launch
SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket is being readied for a second test launch in January 2007.
Credit: SpaceX.

The private launch firm Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is reviewing the results of a Thursday rocket engine test in preparations for the second test flight of its Falcon 1 booster.

The El Segundo, California-based firm checked the Falcon 1 rocket's engine during a static fire test Thursday at its Omelek Island launch pad on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

"It went off very well and no anomalies were detected," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told late Friday of the engine test. "We're still digesting the data from that."

If the results are favorable, SpaceX may prepare the Falcon 1 rocket to fly sometime during a four-day launch window that opens March 19. The test flight has been delayed several times due to equipment and range safety issues.

The planned space shot is a demonstration flight for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and will be the second test launch of SpaceX's Falcon 1 booster since its unsuccessful debut last year.

Since that initial flight, Musk said, SpaceX engineers have made a host of improvements to the rocket and its launch site infrastructure.

The Falcon 1 rocket is a 68-foot (21-meter) booster with a reusable first stage designed to parachute down to an ocean splashdown for later recovery. SpaceX has scheduled a total of three Falcon 1 launches for 2007.