SpaceX CRS-1 Dragon Launched and in Orbit

SpaceX Successfully Launches First Official Cargo Resupply Mission to Space Station

"Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) today successfully launched its Dragon spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on the first official cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. The launch went off on schedule at 8:35 p.m. ET from Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The SpaceX CRS-1 mission marks the first of at least 12 SpaceX missions to the space station under the company's cargo resupply contract with NASA. On board the Dragon spacecraft are materials to support investigations planned for the station's Expedition 33 crew, as well as crew supplies and space station hardware."

SpaceX CRS-1 Mission Update: October 8, 2012

"Approximately one minute and 19 seconds into last night's launch, the Falcon 9 rocket detected an anomaly on one first stage engine. Initial data suggests that one of the rocket's nine Merlin engines, Engine 1, lost pressure suddenly and an engine shutdown command was issued immediately. We know the engine did not explode, because we continued to receive data from it. Our review indicates that the fairing that protects the engine from aerodynamic loads ruptured due to the engine pressure release, and that none of Falcon 9's other eight engines were impacted by this event."

ORBCOMM Launches Prototype Satellite - OG2 satellite's insertion orbit lower than planned

"The OG2 prototype satellite, flying as a secondary payload on this mission, was separated from the Falcon 9 launch vehicle at approximately 9:00 pm EST. However, due to an anomaly on one of the Falcon 9's first stage engines, the rocket did not comply with a pre-planned International Space Station (ISS) safety gate to allow it to execute the second burn. For this reason, the OG2 prototype satellite was deployed into an orbit that was lower than intended. ORBCOMM and Sierra Nevada Corporation engineers have been in contact with the satellite and are working to determine if and the extent to which the orbit can be raised to an operational orbit using the satellite's on-board propulsion system."

Obama for America-Florida Celebrates the Success of the Space X International Space Station Resupply Mission and the Innovative Vision of the Obama Administration

"Tonight's launch of the Space X, Falcon 9 rocket and the autonomous Dragon spacecraft marks another extraordinary new milestone in space, further demonstrating the advances we have seen in just four short years on Florida's Space Coast. This launch is the first in 12 contracted flights to resupply the International Space Station, making it the second trip by American company Space X, to the space station following its successful mission in May of this year."

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Congratulates SpaceX and NASA on their Successful Launch of Dragon

"SpaceX's hard work, dedication and its incredible partnership with NASA should be commended. Congratulations to the entire team at SpaceX and NASA for their successful launch and I look forward to seeing many more under the CRS program."

Keith's note: Yes, there was a Mohawk at SpaceX during the launch.

Keith's update: The previously posted SpaceX launch video has been made "private" shows the first portion of the ascent. This slow motion video gives a much clearer view of the engine anomaly. If you watch this video just after 5:18 point in the video - just after the announcer calls out "vehicle has gone supersonic" - you can see a problem of some sort with one of the engines - a flash and a puff of dark smoke.

Yet - watch the rocket itself as this apparent anomaly happens - it seems to be oblivious to this engine problem and just keeps going steadily without any apparent deviation - adjusting instantly. At the press conference it was noted that the first stage seems to have burned a bit longer to compensate for an engine problem. That's the whole design strategy behind having 9 engines - and it sure seems to have worked per the SpaceX website "This vehicle will be capable of sustaining an engine failure at any point in flight and still successfully completing its mission. This actually results in an even higher level of reliability than a single engine stage."

More details will be released in the morning.

Keith's 11:30 pm update: According to a statement provided to NASAWatch by Elon Musk at SpaceX: "Falcon 9 detected an anomaly on one of the nine engines and shut it down. As designed, the flight computer then recomputed a new ascent profile in realtime to reach the target orbit, which is why the burn times were a bit longer. Like Saturn V, which experienced engine loss on two flights, the Falcon 9 is designed to handle an engine flameout and still complete its mission. I believe F9 is the only rocket flying today that, like a modern airliner, is capable of completing a flight successfully even after losing an engine. There was no effect on Dragon or the Space Station resupply mission."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 8, 2012 2:13 PM.

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