Monday, October 8, 2012

SpaceX statement and KUDOS for a GREAT JOB!

SpaceX has released the following statement: 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.

As designed, the flight computer then recomputed a new ascent profile in real time to ensure Dragon’s entry into orbit for subsequent rendezvous and berthing with the ISS. This was achieved, and there was no effect on Dragon or the cargo resupply mission.

Falcon 9 did exactly what it was designed to do. Like the Saturn V, which experienced engine loss on two flights, Falcon 9 is designed to handle an engine out situation and still complete its mission. .

However - is this the best thing ever? Because it occurred we actually know of its ability to handle emergencies with its safety system responses. That the ship so smoothly handled the difficulty that an onlooked had to be told it occurred is remarkable!

The Falcon 9 bears the number 9 not by mistake, it has nine engines and was designed to fly to space if one of them were to fail.

Good job SpaceX!

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