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NASA: SpaceX's Merlin Engines 'Good To Go' for ISS Trip

One of the nine Merlin 1-C first-stage engines on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket shut down prematurely 79 seconds after liftoff Oct. 7 at the start of an otherwise successful space station cargo run.

NASA is confident SpaceX can safely launch another International Space Station resupply mission on March 1 from Cape Canaveral, although a joint investigation into an engine failure last fall is not yet closed.

All indications are that the next set of Falcon 9 rocket engines are “good to go,” said Mike Suffredini, NASA’s ISS program manager, during a Thursday press conference updating the status of station systems and activity.

The Merlin engine that shut down 79 seconds into an Oct. 7 launch had undergone considerable pre-flight testing, though not beyond levels it was designed to handle. Investigators think that extra testing may have contributed to a pressure chamber breach, Suffredini said.

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