Switch to Desktop Site
 
 

SpaceX mission to space station scrubbed for now

SpaceX's first attempt to send its Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station ended abruptly Saturday morning when computers aboard the company's Falcon 9 rocket shut off the craft's  engines just after ignition.

Image

The SpaceX's first attempt to send its Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station ended abruptly Saturday morning when computers aboard the company's Falcon 9 rocket shut off the craft's engines just after ignition.

Michael Brown/Reuters

About these ads

SpaceX's first attempt to send its Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station ended abruptly Saturday morning when computers aboard the company's Falcon 9 rocket shut off the craft's  engines just after ignition.

The control system for the rocket, which uses a cluster of nine of the company's Merlin engines in its first stage, checks to ensure all the engines are running properly before the craft is released to begin its climb to space.

After a flawless countdown, the engines ignited at 4:55 a.m. as scheduled. But the flight-control computer detected too much pressure in the combustion chamber of one of the engines and aborted the pre-dawn launch. The next launch opportunity comes at 3:44 a.m. Monday.

This mission combines into one attempt the objectives of two demonstration flights the company must perform for NASA before it begins regular cargo runs to and from the International Space Station under a $1.6 billion, 12-mission space-station resupply contract.

SpaceX must show that the automated Dragon spacecraft is capable of the precision flying needed to operate safely in the station's vicinity before docking – including a rendezvous-abort maneuver – as well as perform the maneuvers needed to bring it within reach of the space station's robotic arm.

Once station crew members have Dragon in their grasp, they use the arm to dock the craft with the station.

This mission represents only the third for the Falcon 9. The rocket's initial test launch in June 2010 was successful. SpaceX's hardware cleared another key milestone the following December, when the company lofted, orbited, and recovered its Dragon capsule – becoming the first commercial venture to pull off such a feat.

Next

Page:   1   |   2   |   3

Share