SpaceX, the private company founded by one of Paypal’s founders, announced it has completed a successful tests of what it calls “the most efficient booster engine ever built”
The Merlin 1D engine fired for 185 seconds at the SpaceX development facility in McGregor, Texas, producing a remarkable 147,000 pounds of thrust. SpaceX says this is enough to fully power a Falcon 9 rocket launch.
“This is another important milestone in our efforts to push the boundaries of space technology,” SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk said in a statement. “With the Merlin 1D powering the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, SpaceX will be capable of carrying a full range of payloads to orbit.”
The 1D builds on the success of the Merlin 1C, which launched the capsule that successfully docked with the International Space Station last month in a historic first for a private company.
The 1D engine is expected to make its first flight on Falcon 9 Flight 6, expected next year.