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SpaceX's Merlin 1D engine gets flight qualified, Musk expects launch this year (update)

Brian Heater

It's been quite the eventful year for the team at SpaceX. A few weeks after sending a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, Elon Musk's company announced that its Merlin 1D engine managed to snag flight qualification, thanks to 1,970 seconds of testing time at its McGregor, Texas facility. That adds up to more than 10 full mission durations. The engine scored a ratio of 4:1 for critical engine life parameters, well above the industry's 2:1 standard. SpaceX will waste little time in getting it off the ground -- Musk said the engine will be taking off this year, as part of a Falcon 9 flight.

Update: Now with more video.

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