Update: NASA says glitch delays SpaceX Dragon linkup with space station
Problem in spacecraft's thruster pods
Computerworld - After a successful liftoff of the SpaceX Dragon on Friday, the company's engineers were working on a glitch in the spacecraft's thruster system, delaying a Saturday rendezvous with the International Space Station.
NASA reported earlier Friday that three of the Dragon spacecraft's four thruster pods were not working. The problem is caused by a malfunctioning propellant valve.
At 3:30 p.m. ET, the space agency said that while a second thruster pod was brought online, the Dragon spacecraft won't be able to link up with the space station on Saturday as had been planned.
Engineers are working to get two still-malfunctioning thrusters up and running. The spacecraft needs at least three thrusters working to be able to make a series of burns needed to rendezvous with the space station.
The thruster pods enable maneuvering and altitude control.
Shortly after Dragon reached orbit, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk reported on Twitter that there was a problem with the Dragon spacecraft's thruster pods, delaying the deployment of the craft's solar array, which powers it.
"Issue with Dragon thruster pods. System inhibiting three of four from initializing. About to command inhibit override," Musk tweeted. "Holding on solar array deployment until at least two thruster pods are active."
At approximately 11:50 a.m. ET, the Dragon's solar arrays were successfully deployed.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the unmanned Dragon capsule, lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:10 a.m. ET today. The spacecraft, was scheduled to rendezvous with the space station on Saturday, ferrying 1,268 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies for the space station crew to the orbiter.
Using a robotic arm onboard the space station, two astronauts are set to grab hold of the Dragon capsule and attach it to the station. The capsule will stay attached for about three weeks, returning to Earth on March 25.
Today's launch is the second of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It also will be the third trip by a Dragon capsule to the orbiting laboratory.
After SpaceX made a demonstration flight in May 2012, it then launched the first official resupply mission last October, delivering 882 pounds of supplies.
Another successful commercial launch is an important milestone for NASA, which now depends on commercial flights since retiring the agency's fleet of space shuttles in the summer of 2011. For the foreseeable future, NASA will need commercial missions to ferry supplies, and possibly even astronauts, to the space station, while the space agency focuses on developing robotics and big engines in preparation for missions to the moon, asteroids and Mars.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is email@example.com.
Read more about Emerging Technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Aberdeen Group: Marketing Analytics for Manufacturing: Forging Customer Insights There are no recalls for poor marketing. Manufacturers need to get their customer intelligence and messaging right the first time. Learn how.
- Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping through Big Data Analytics Many organizations have limited insight into big data. These limitations have significant opportunity costs and can have a negative effect on identifying and...
- The Brave New World of Customer-Centric Manufacturing The Unique Opportunity for Manufacturers to Better Understand their Consumers
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more