SpaceX Completes Falcon 9 Launch Dress Rehearsal

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Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) said it successfully completed a rehearsal for a scheduled April demonstration mission in which it will launch its Dragon cargo capsule to the international space station.

The March 1 test of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket included “the full countdown procedures for the upcoming test flight,” company spokeswoman Kirstin Grantham said in a prepared statement. “We ran down the countdown clock to a planned abort at T – 5 seconds at 12:18 p.m. eastern.”

Grantham said the test went “well,” and that SpaceX will spend the next few days analyzing the data gathered at the pad.

In the upcoming demonstration mission, SpaceX is sending a small amount of cargo to the space station. Dragon will have to reach orbit, perform maneuvers, establish communication with astronauts aboard the station and then move in close enough to be grappled by a robotic arm and berthed with the station.

It is the final demonstration mission before SpaceX is cleared to begin regular space station cargo deliveries under its $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services agreement with NASA.