Print 27 comment(s) - last by kattanna.. on Mar 5 at 10:06 AM

It looks as if the problem has to do with the Dragon's thrusters

SpaceX sent its Dragon capsule to the International Space Station (ISS) for the third time this morning, but it appears something went wrong after the launch.

Today's Dragon launch, known as the CRS-2 mission, was the capsule's third trip (but second official cargo delivery) to the ISS. It was scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:10 a.m. ET.

The launch was successful right up to the point of entering orbit. But right after the Dragon vehicle was released (it traveled atop the Falcon 9 rocket), a problem occurred.

As of right now, it looks as if the problem has to do with the Dragon's thrusters. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is already tweeting about the issue.

"Issue with Dragon thruster pods," Musk wrote on Twitter. "System inhibiting three of four from initializing. About to command inhibit override."

The thrusters allow the Dragon capsule to move about in orbit.

Shortly after that tweet, Musk also posted this:

"Holding on solar array deployment until at least two thruster pods are active."

The CRS-2 mission entails the carrying of 1,200 pounds of scientific experiments, food for the astronauts and even some entertainment, such as a copy of "Up in the Air" by the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Dragon is due to arrive at the ISS Saturday at 6:30 a.m. ET., unless current issues slow that process down.

The Dragon flew to the ISS for the first time in May 2012, then made its first official cargo run in October 2012 as part of a $1.6 billion deal with NASA.

DailyTech will update this article as more details on the Dragon's issue in space today are revealed.

Updated 3/1/2013 @ 1:30 PM EST
Elon Musk's Twitter reveals that the solar array deployment was successful, and that SpaceX is now attempting to bring up thruster pods 2 and 4.

Updated 3/1/2013 @ 3:00 PM EST
Elon Musk reported that pods 1 and 4 are back online, and the thrusters are engaged. Also, the Dragon has shifted from free drift to active control.

Updated 3/1/2013 @ 5:00 PM EST
According to Elon Musk's most recent tweet, "thruster pods one through four are now operating nominally." He added that they were getting ready to raise orbit and that all systems were back in action.

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RE: cds in space?
By mjv.theory on 3/1/2013 12:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
One hundred billion dollars spent to end up with a space station that has limited comms bandwidth - that would be quite sad. Nearly as sad, would be spending $5,000 to send a CD into space. Optimistically, it may be on a microSD card, which would make a smaller and cheaper joke.

RE: cds in space?
By alpha754293 on 3/1/2013 1:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know it's not a yet-to-be-released nanoSD? They probably downloaded the album through iTunes.

RE: cds in space?
By Jeffk464 on 3/1/2013 1:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody ever said the space station was a solid investment.

RE: cds in space?
By danjw1 on 3/2/2013 1:12:16 AM , Rating: 2
What pipe have you been smoking? You think it is some boondoggle? ISS is important for all kinds of research that is either expedited by the environment or can't be done on earth. Anyone who thinks ISS is just money down the drain and doesn't return at least is cost in valuable research, doesn't know what they are talking about.

RE: cds in space?
By SPOOFE on 3/2/2013 6:11:43 AM , Rating: 1
While I would never say that the ISS was "just money down the drain", I will say that I believe that the return on investment (ie - number and magnitude of things learned vs. money spent) has not been all that spectacular in comparison to other space exploration missions.

That said, the money spent to send a CD into orbit, in relation to the much higher cost of ANYTHING sent to orbit, is absolutely trivial and I think it's ridiculous that anyone is complaining about it.

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