SpaceX Dragon Capsule Suffers Glitch After Launch to Space Station

November 24, 2015 – 06:14 pm
SpaceX's Dragon space capsule is seen from a camera aboard its Falcon 9 rocket after separating from the booster following its March 1, 2013 launch.SpaceX's Falcon 9 launched the Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station on March 1, 2013, from Cape Canaveral, FL.
Credit: SpaceX (via Facebook as SpaceX)

"It appears that, although it achieved Earth orbit, Dragon is experiencing some type of problem right now, " SpaceX's John Insprucker said during the company's launch webcast.

The glitch appears to be related to Dragon's thrusters, which allow the capsule to maneuver in orbit.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Launches to International Space Station Wide Shot"Issue with Dragon thruster pods, " SpaceX founder Elon Musk wrote on Twitter. "System inhibiting three of four from initializing. About to command inhibit override." [Photos: SpaceX's Third Launch to Space Station] will provide updates as new information is available.

Falcons and Dragons

This mission is Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX's second of a dozen contracted supply flights to the space station, part of a $1.6 billion agreement with NASA's Commercial Resupply Services Program.

SpaceX's CRS-2 mission patch for the March 2013 flight to the International Space Station.
Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX's CRS-2 mission patch.Although storms threatened central Florida earlier in the week, the skies cleared in time, and the rocket was "go" for liftoff.

The Dragon capsule is due to deliver 1, 200 lbs (544 kilograms) of scientific experiments and supplies to the space station after docking on Saturday at 6:30 a.m. ET (1100 GMT). Among its bounty is food for the astronauts, including fruits picked from the orchard of a SpaceX employee's father, Shotwell said. The capsule is also carrying a copy of the song "Up in the Air" by the American rock band Thirty Minutes to Mars for NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn, a flight engineer on the station.

The orbiting outpost is currently home to six crewmembers, led by Expedition 34 commander Kevin Ford of NASA. Ford and Marshburn will use the station's robotic arm to grab the Dragon capsule and attach it to the station, NASA officials said.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule roll out from the hangar for the CRS-2 launch.The flight will be Dragon's third visit to the space station, following a test flight in May 2012 and its first contracted cargo delivery mission in October of that year. SpaceX has taken precautions to avoid an engine anomaly that caused one of the Falcon 9's nine Merlin rocket engines to shut down during the October liftoff. Although the failure didn't prevent Dragon from docking safely to the station, it did cause a secondary payload, a prototype Orbcomm OG2 communications satellite, to miss its intended orbit and fall back to Earth.

Waiting astronauts

The residents of the space station have been preparing for Dragon's docking for some time, said Mike Suffredini, the manager of the International...


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