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 Solandri on 3/1/2013 7:17:39 PM , Rating: 5
A CD weighs about 15 grams. With case it's about 60 grams.

The Falcon 9 costs about $1300/lb of payload put into orbit. So that 15 gram CD cost $43 to send up there. If they sent it in a case, it cost $172.

Next time, stream the MP3s. (In seriousness, the vehicle probably had plenty of reserve payload capacity - i.e. extra fuel to burn. So the weight of the CDs didn't really cost anything except a 0.001% reduction in a let's say 10% safety margin. But if the mission had had a payload closer to the max capacity, you don't want to be sending up trivial things like CDs.)

RE: cds in space?
By FaaR on 3/2/2013 10:58:16 AM , Rating: 1
The rocket is going up regardless of if you stick a CD on it (with case attached, probably) or not. You might as well use any spare capacity there is, because the price of the launch is exactly the same even if you were to launch the rocket with just its mission payload onboard.

So your price of $43, or $172, is incorrect; the price is actually $free.

RE: cds in space?
By mcnabney on 3/3/2013 1:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
It all adds up to opportunity cost. There may be other useless crap to send up there.

Also, there isn't a lot of 'extra room' on the ISS. They are going to have to find a place for it that is held down and then have to dig it up if they want to hear it. That kind of makes it useless since it can't be handled the same way that their other music does.

Oh, and FYI, there probably isn't copyright law on the ISS.

RE: cds in space?
By Jedi2155 on 3/2/2013 6:44:23 PM , Rating: 3
Everyone forgets how much their data service provider is charging them for their data access fee. If they were sending up a single 650 MB CD worth of data on Verizon's international data roaming charges, it would be

$0.02/KB * 650 MB = $13,000.

Still cheaper to send it by rocket power. Faster too ;)

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