Tuesday, October 09, 2012

SpaceX, We've had a problem

I'm a big fan of SpaceX, the Apple Computer of the space launch world, the upstarts who are turning that industry on its head. Inevitably, though, there are glitches on the road to doing something this complicated. While the Dragon capsule is on its way to the ISS, a secondary mission, putting an Orbcomm 2 communications satellite in orbit, was compromised. It looks like when the Falcon 9 lost an engine, the second stage had to help correct the trajectory, and in so doing put the secondary payload, the Orbcomm, in an orbit much lower than planned.  Much of the satellite's function can be saved, since it was a test model for a constellation to follow, but it's a reminder that space flight is still hard and even the most brilliant engineers are still human.  SpaceX remains a big success story so far: they'll just have to try a little harder.

UPDATE: We have docking! Dragon has docked with the International Space Station. Good job, everyone!

No comments: