SpaceX Dragon Said On Course Despite Engine Failure

By: CNN Posted By: Stephanie Schultz
By: CNN Posted By: Stephanie Schultz
The failure occurred at a minute and 19 seconds into the first commercial space cargo mission, which launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday night, SpaceX disclosed.

The Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft stand at Space Launch Complex 40 ahead of the upcoming launch to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch was delayed Saturday morning May 29, 2012 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket, intended to go the International Space Station, was supposed to be the first from a private company attempting the feat. As the countdown reached zero, the engines of a SpaceX vehicle shut down. Officials say chamber pressure on an engine was high, causing the abort.

Highlights

One of nine rocket engines failed on the SpaceX booster after Sunday's launch

The flight computer adjusted for the failure and kept the Dragon capsule on course

The unmanned capsule is scheduled to reach the space station on Wednesday

(CNN) -- A SpaceX Dragon capsule remains on course for the International Space Station despite the failure of one of nine engines on its booster rocket after launch, the company reported Monday.

The failure occurred at a minute and 19 seconds into the first commercial space cargo mission, which launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday night, SpaceX disclosed.

"Initial data suggests that one of the rocket's nine Merlin engines, Engine 1, lost pressure suddenly and an engine shutdown command was issued immediately," the company said in a written statement.

But the company said the rocket "did exactly what it was designed to do," as its flight computer made adjustments to keep the Dragon headed into the proper orbit. The unmanned capsule, which is carrying about 1,000 pounds of supplies for the space station, is scheduled to arrive at the orbital platform on Wednesday.

Controllers are reviewing the flight data in an effort to figure out what happened, but the company said the initial readings indicate the engine's protective fairing broke apart under stress.

"We know the engine did not explode, because we continued to receive data from it," the company said.


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