Space

May 21, 2012

Dragon launch to space station scrubbed

by Raphael Jaffe
Staff Writer

Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, told a post-scrub press conference that the failure to launch Falcon9-Dragon to the International Space Station early May 19 was “aborted with purpose” and so not a failure.

Regardless, the next launch attempt has been postponed until at least May 22 at 3:44 a.m., EDT. May 23 provides another possible launch time.

All was nominal until 0.5 seconds before liftoff, but the software monitoring the health of the Falcon 9 systems detected higher than normal chamber pressure for engine 5 of the nine-engine launcher – and the trend was upward.

The launch was stopped, and the system started “detanking,” as planned. “We aborted with purpose. It would be a failure if we were to have lifted off with an engine trending in this direction,” Shotwell said.

“The software did what it was supposed to do” this was not a software problem, she added. She attributed the higher pressure to higher temperature in the chamber, as a result of low flow of one of the propellant fluids; but said the pre-valve did fully open.

Evidently, engine 5 also did show high pressure in the hot fire hold down test just completed.

SpaceX chief technical officer and founder Elon Musk, tweeted “Launch aborted: slightly high combustion chamber pressure on engine 5. Will adjust limits for countdown in a few days.”

Shotwell pointed out that another Falcon 9 was on hand at SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40. She said that if needed, engine 5 could be swapped out with the one on this booster, and also that a May 23 launch would be feasible.

Launch to the orbiting International Space Station is efficient only at a given moment.

This time is when the ISS orbit puts it over the launch location. These times comes separated by several days, and then at intervals usually of each 2 or 3 days. The ISS orbital track projections on the earth look like the elongated S curves visible on the displays shown in the ISS control room images. After May 23, the next launch time will be in early June.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
nasa-astronaut

Veteran NASA astronaut, spacewalker retires from NASA

Veteran astronaut Mike Foreman has retired from NASA to join a Houston-based consulting firm. A retired captain in the U.S. Navy, Foreman’s last day with the agency is July 31. “Mike is a great American who has served our ...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech photograph

NASA selects proposals to study neutron stars, black holes, more

NASA/JPL-Caltech photograph The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), launched in 2012, is an Explorer mission that allows astronomers to study the universe in high energy X-rays. NASA has selected five proposals subm...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech  image

NASA’s Spitzer confirms closest rocky exoplanet

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This artist’s concept shows the silhouette of a rocky planet, dubbed HD 219134b. At 21 light-years away, the planet is the closest outside of our solar system that can be seen crossing, or transitin...
 

 

NASA awards contract to support agency’s human spaceflight programs

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories Inc., of El Segundo, Calif., to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The work supports ongoing research aboard the International Space Station and helps enable the journey to Mars. The Human Health and Performance contract...
 
 
nasa-astronaut

Astronaut Stephen Frick retires from NASA

Astronaut Stephen Frick has retired from NASA to accept a position in the private sector. Frick, who flew as both a shuttle pilot and commander, left the Agency July 13. Steve has been a great asset to the astronaut office and ...
 
 
NASA/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt photograph

NASA’s Kepler mission discovers bigger, older cousin to Earth

NASA/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt photograph This size and scale of the Kepler-452 system compared alongside the Kepler-186 system and the solar system. Kepler-186 is a miniature solar system that would fit entirely inside the orbit of ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>