SpaceX Expected to Launch Dragon Capsule to ISS at 3:44am Tuesday Morning
May 21, 2012 10:13 PM
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SpaceX replaced the faulty check valve that delayed the May 19 launch
SpaceX is looking to make another attempt at sending its Dragon capsule to the International Space Station (ISS) early tomorrow morning.
Private rocket company SpaceX is set to be the first of its kind to send a spacecraft to the ISS since
NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011
. SpaceX will use its unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to make the journey. It is expected to carry 1,149 pounds of cargo to the ISS and 1,455 pounds back to Earth.
The Dragon was originally set to launch on February 7, but SpaceX said that it wanted to conduct more tests before the cargo capsule made its way into space. The company then set an
approximate launch date of April 30
, and ended up
moving it May 7
Finally, on May 19, SpaceX was ready to send its Dragon to the ISS. However, a rocket engine glitch forced SpaceX engineers to abort the mission at the last second. After investigating the issue, SpaceX said a faulty check valve caused high chamber pressure in the engine, leading to the sudden abort.
SpaceX has since replaced the check valve and has
set a new launch date
for the Dragon: May 22 at 3:44 a.m. EDT.
"Since then they have replaced that check valve with a new unit and have tested all the other engines for similar problems and believe they are good to go," said Mike Horkachuck, NASA project executive for SpaceX.
Assuming all goes well tomorrow, the Dragon capsule will make it to the ISS on Thursday, May 24. After a couple of weeks at the ISS, the Dragon will fall into the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of California, where a boat will retrieve the fallen capsule.
After the initial test flight to the ISS, SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract to make 12 more trips to the space station.
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Govt cost so far
5/22/2012 1:13:08 AM
Do we have any hard figures on what the govt has spent so far regarding SpaceX tests/contracts?
RE: Govt cost so far
5/22/2012 2:23:15 AM
Whatever it is its money better spent that 100% of our defense budget. Our future is out there, not in technology to destroy each other.
RE: Govt cost so far
5/22/2012 11:43:57 AM
War is the number one motivator when it comes to technology development. well, maybe at one point on par with the space race - but that era is over.
War is perhaps awfull - but we wouldn't be here today without it.
"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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