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.


 
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

NASA’s Orion Spacecraft powers through first integrated system testing

Lockheed Martin photograph Engineers in the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, perform avionics testing on the Orion spacecraft being prepared for its first trip to space later this ye...
 
 

NASA’s Hubble extends stellar tape measure 10 times farther into space

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers now can precisely measure the distance of stars up to 10,000 light-years away – 10 times farther than previously possible. Astronomers have developed yet another novel way to use the 24-year-old space telescope by employing a technique called spatial scanning, which dramatically improves Hubble’s accuracy for making angular meas...
 
 
LM-AEHF

Fourth AEHF protected communications satellite begins integration months ahead of schedule

The fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite produced by Lockheed Martin is taking shape after early deliveries of its payload and propulsion core. AEHF-4, expected to launch in 2017, will enable the constellation to ...
 

 
nasa-telescope

NASA looks to go beyond batteries for space exploration

NASA is seeking proposals for the development of new, more capable, energy storage technologies to replace the battery technology that has long powered America’s space program. The core technologies solicited in the Wedne...
 
 

Near Infrared Camera Integrated into space telescope

Lockheed Martin and the University of Arizona have delivered the primary imaging instrument of the James Webb Space Telescope to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The new Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, has been successfully integrated within the heart of the telescope, known as the Integrated Science Instrument Module. The integration completes the suite of...
 
 

NASA awards robotics, vehicle, graphics simulation services contract

NASA has selected MacLean Engineering & Applied Technologies of Houston to provide simulation model development for organizations at the agency’s Johnson Space Center, also in Houston. This indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract has firm-fixed price and cost-plus fixed-fee task orders. Beginning July 1, the contract has a three-year base period followed by two one-year opt...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>