Skip to comments.SpaceX's Falcon-9 Dragon successfully lifts off to resupply ISS [One of 9 Engines "shuts down"]
Posted on 10/08/2012 12:40:54 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
SpaceX says Engine No. 1 on the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage experienced some sort of anomaly about 80 seconds into the launch, but lift-off did occur.
Elon Musk, SpaceX's CEO and chief designer, said the engine was shut down by the rocket's on-board computers.
"Falcon 9 detected an anomaly on one of the nine engines and shut it down," Musk said. "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."
The first stage burned nearly 30 seconds longer than planned. Nine Merlin 1C engines power the Falcon 9's first stage, generating nearly a million pounds of thrust. The kerosene-fueled engines are built by SpaceX at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.
Engine No. 1, positioned on one of the corners of the tic-tac-toe pattern of first stage engines, was shut down earlier than planned, according to Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president. Shotwell said she was not sure of the cause of the problem, but the engine was turned off.
"Like the Saturn 5, which experienced engine loss on two flights, the Falcon 9 is designed to handle an engine flameout and still complete its mission," Musk said. "I believe Falcon 9 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."
SpaceX has long touted the Falcon 9's ability to recover from the loss of a first stage engine at any point during launch. A company spokesperson said more details on the problem would be released Monday.
The Falcon 9 deployed the Dragon cargo spacecraft in a nearly perfect orbit ranging in altitude from 122 miles to 203 miles, according to SpaceX.
The rocket's second stage later deployed a two-way data communications satellite for Orbcomm Inc., according to Shotwell. No information was immediately available on its state of health.
The Orbcomm satellite rode into orbit as a piggyback payload.
Meanwhile, the Dragon spacecraft is in good condition.
Slow motion VIDEO of the "shut down" - at :30 of YouTube video of SpaceX video [SpaceX clock embedded on screen shows 1:19]
Sponsoring FReepers are contributing
$10 Each time a New Monthly Donor signs up!
Get more bang for your FR buck!
Click Here To Sign Up Now!
If so that is fantastic
The U.S. Space program is in deep trouble if the spin [it was an "anomaly"] of Elon Musk (the Tesla Elec Car, Solar City, Space X taxpayer subsidy king) on a blown engine is seen as "fantastic."
Looks like material ejected from spacecraft.
good luck SpaceX
lets look for another private space contractor
Elon Musk is a POS crony capitalist zer0bama bundler
SpaceX Head Obama Bundler?
More “buzz” at that site on the “shut down.”
Someone commented that if it had been an “explosion” they should have aborted the mission vs if it was a “shut down” of a defective engine, you go with a longer burn and proceed.
To my untrained eye, it looks like an explosion to me.
Too bad your electric car is such a looser.
Yep, definitely an explosion. You could see large pieces of debris blow back through the exhaust.
Redundancy! The design was so robust that issues such as a blown engine wouldn’t have been enough to scrub the mission. The design was so robust that an exploded engine didn’t take out the whole vehicle like cascading dominoes. Lets curb the criticisms just because one of the backers was a Obamamite turd!. The vehicle functioned as designed!(now lets see if the return vehicle functions).
On another site someone praised the rocket "anomaly" as showing that it is "fault tolerant!" That is rich.
An exploding engine during launch is not by any stretch of the imagination "functioning as designed." The fact that Musk issued a statement claiming that the "engine was shut down," without any mention of an explosion, is troubling -- it lends credence to the idea that he's a self-promoter. Note: all Musk's (and members of his extended family's) government a$$isted "businesses" [also receiving huge tax-credits on their "green-ness"] are or will go public (issue stock) -- and HE will profit. We are stuck with a HUGE chunk of the bill -- regardless of success or failure. This is crony capitalism in the flesh.
I do not blame SpaceX for having an engine explode -- rockets are dangerous and explosions happen. I will hold them accountable if they try to cover up the realities of what happened during their launch. From their initial response, basically "waving off" the idea of an explosion [we've recently come off the Benghazi U.S. Embassy murder cover-up exercise by the White House/State Dept - so this pattern of deflection is fresh in my mind], one senses that they are amateurs playing at a game they do not fully understand.
In the meantime Obama and Holdren are dismantling our national space infrastructure and scattering our technical workforce - and calling it their gift to "free market capitalism." Odd. Everywhere else this administration is growing government and killing capitalism. Why dismantle NASA's manned space program in the name of progress? I think we're beginning to see why.
The Falcon 9 tank walls and domes are made from aluminum lithium alloy. SpaceX uses an all friction stir welded tank, the highest strength and most reliable welding technique available. Like Falcon 1, the interstage, which connects the upper and lower stage for Falcon 9, is a carbon fiber aluminum core composite structure. The separation system is a larger version of the pneumatic pushers used on Falcon 1.
Nine SpaceX Merlin engines power the Falcon 9 first stage with 147,000 lbs-f sea level thrust per engine for a total thrust on liftoff of just over 1.3 Million lbs-f. After engine start, Falcon is held down until all vehicle systems are verified to be functioning normally before release for liftoff.
Spacex Merlin Engine
The main engine, called Merlin, was developed internally at SpaceX, but draws upon a long heritage of space proven engines. The pintle style injector at the heart of Merlin was first used in the Apollo Moon program for the lunar module landing engine, one of the most critical phases of the mission.
Propellant is fed via a single shaft, dual impeller turbo-pump operating on a gas generator cycle. The turbo-pump also provides the high pressure kerosene for the hydraulic actuators, which then recycles into the low pressure inlet. This eliminates the need for a separate hydraulic power system and means that thrust vector control failure by running out of hydraulic fluid is not possible. A third use of the turbo-pump is to provide roll control by actuating the turbine exhaust nozzle (on the second stage engine).
Combining the above three functions into one device that we know is functioning before the vehicle is allowed to lift off means a significant improvement in system level reliability.
Designed for Maximum Reliability
The vast majority of launch vehicle failures in the past two decades can be attributed to three causes: engine, stage separation and, to a much lesser degree, avionics failures. An analysis (p. 23) of launch failure history between 1980 and 1999 by Aerospace Corporation showed that 91% of known failures can be attributed to those subsystems.
Falcon 9 has nine Merlin engines clustered together. 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. The SpaceX nine engine architecture is an improved version of the architecture employed by the Saturn V and Saturn I rockets of the Apollo Program, which had flawless flight records despite losing engines on a number of missions.
Another notable point is the SpaceX hold-before-release system a capability required by commercial airplanes, but not implemented on many launch vehicles. After first stage engine start, the Falcon is held down and not released for flight until all propulsion and vehicle systems are confirmed to be operating normally. An automatic safe shut-down and unloading of propellant occurs if any off nominal conditions are detected.
NASA'S CHOICE TO RESUPPLY THE SPACE STATION
In December 2008, NASA announced the selection of SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon Spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station (ISS). The $1.6 billion contract represents a minimum of 12 flights, with an option to order additional missions for a cumulative total contract value of up to $3.1 billion.
NASA CITED SPACEX'S SIGNIFICANT STRENGTHS AS FOLLOWS:
First stage engine-out capability
Dual redundant avionics system
Structural safety factor in excess of industry standards
Enhanced schedule efficiencies
Reduced overall technical risk to ISS cargo supply
I used the term redundancy. No one wants an engine to shut down on a launch, crap happens sometimes. It was a testament to the redudancies built into the design that the computers were able to recompute the tractory on the fly; extending the burn so that the ship got to where it was going. It shows that private space ventures may be well the way to go when extending our commercial ventures into space.
I don’t disagree with your other views.
After a failed booster rocket engine the space craft was still able to make it to orbit is fantastic. That doesn’t change the bundling and Tesla Motors possible criminal actives.
Obama funder gets insider deal at NASA