SpaceX fires up rocket ahead of March 1 astronaut launch (photos)

SpaceX just notched another milestone ahead of its next astronaut mission.

The company announced early Tuesday morning (Feb. 27) that it had conducted a static fire test with the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA. Static fires are common prelaunch trials in which a rocket’s engines are ignited briefly while the vehicle is anchored to the pad.

Crew-8 is scheduled to launch from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday (March 1) at 12:04 a.m. EST (0504 GMT), weather permitting. You can watch the action live here at

Related: 8 ways SpaceX has transformed spaceflight

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted a photo of the static fire on X on Tuesday. The company did so as well via its official X account.


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Crew-8 will send four astronauts to the ISS for a roughly six-month stay: NASA’s Matthew Dominick (the mission’s commander), Michael Barrett (pilot) and Jeannette Epps (mission specialist), and Alexander Grebenkin (mission specialist) of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos.

Crew-8 will be the first mission for this particular Falcon 9. But the Crew Dragon capsule that will carry the four spaceflyers is a veteran. The vehicle, called Endeavour, already has four crewed ISS missions under its belt, including 2020’s Demo-2, the first astronaut mission that SpaceX ever flew.

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