SpaceX in McGregor may be celebrating the approach to Independence Day with its rocket's yellow glare. From SpaceX's Christina Ra:
SpaceX is planning to run another test at our rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas that will be significantly louder than the typical tests we run daily. This test will be similar in scope to recent tests, running from seconds in duration up to several minutes. The earliest possible date for the upcoming test is Wed., July 3rd.
This would probably be one of the stage acceptance tests in preparation for the Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California of the Canadian CASSIOPE satellite. The launch date is set but being kept under wraps since the client is a private company, Ra has previously said.
Meanwhile, NASA reported today that SpaceX has completed two milestones en route to launching people aboard its Dragon capsules. In a May 7 meeting with NASA officials, the company outlined its plans to certify Dragon and Falcon 9 for crewed missions, the press release said.
Separately, the company outlined plans to test its pad abort system later this year or early next year at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. In that test, the Dragon's built-in SuperDraco engines will fire to lift the capsule away from a simulated pad emergency, with the Dragon then landing by parachute in the Atlantic Ocean nearby.
And why, you ask, would you need such a capability? Here's one answer:
That's a Russian Proton-M rocket that crashed early this morning (last night, Waco time) carrying three satellites for Russia's version of the GPS navigation system. Protons aren't used for crewed launches, but if something like this had happened with people on top, the escape rockets would likely have fired fairly early on, carrying the crew capsule up and away from the rocket veering off course.
This also is an illustration of why it would be a good idea to have more than one crew-capable rocket...