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SpaceX has a practice of a hot fire test before the real launch. This gives them a chance to test any number of things, similar to launch, to identify possible issues.

They test:

  • Fueling
  • Launch procedure
  • Actually ignite the engines
  • and more

But what other boosters test this way? I do not recall Saturn 1B or V's doing this.

Anything with a Solid rocket booster (Space Shuttle, Araine 5, H-2A/H-2B, Titan 4, Atlas 5 with strapons, Delta 4 with strapons, Long March, Vega) obviously cannot do a hot fire, since you only get one burn out of a solid booster.

Thinking about that list, I realized I could not think of a Russian solid rocket booster.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you provide more detail as to when they perform these hot fire tests? After the entire stage is completely assembled, I assume. Do you mean as part of the manufacturing cycle, or as part of the launch sequence? $\endgroup$ – Jerard Puckett May 9 '14 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ @JerardPuckett A good distinction. I meant post production, post delivery to launch site, prelaunch. $\endgroup$ – geoffc May 9 '14 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ SpaceX's vary anywhere from 1 week to 1 day prior to launch, sometimes with the complete stack integrated, sometimes with only a cap on for the payload, but always with the first and second stages together. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto May 9 '14 at 13:11
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NK-33 engines can be started several times.

(It was one of the measures to counter problems the designers of N1 were struggling with. The large set of multiple start NK-33 has been produced in parallel with the very last N1 test flight. After that the program has been closed without giving multiple start NK-33 a chance).

That gives Antares and Soyuz-2.1v.

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    $\begingroup$ 'Can' do a hotfire is different than 'do' do a hot fire. :) I was excluding obvious impossible cases by my solid booster example. $\endgroup$ – geoffc May 8 '14 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ Antares does do. And Soyuz-2.1v let me look.... yes it does too, they had a failure in 2012 during a hotfire first stage test. $\endgroup$ – horsh May 8 '14 at 22:58

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