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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Success so far!
5/22/2012 4:09:16 AM
I watched the web video from launch to separation to orbit to the solar panels opening. Amazing history being made today. Can't wait until Thursday when it actually docks with the ISS.
Again amazing... Fun times we are in.
RE: Success so far!
5/22/2012 4:45:56 AM
I watched as well. I am 47 years old and still tear up at the awe inspiring video of a successful launch. I am really looking forward to the docking attempt on Thursday.
I worked at a DOD research lab for 15 years and I fully understand how those people who accomplished this feel when they see the test go according to plan and the cheers go up around the room.
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