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Home / Science / After 26 successful successes, SpaceX will not be able to land Falcon 9 again

After 26 successful successes, SpaceX will not be able to land Falcon 9 again



  The launch of a Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday went well. The landing? Not so much.
Enlarge / The launch of a Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday went well. The landing? Not so much.

NASA

Something unexpected happened after launching a Falcon 9 rocket into the International Space Station ̵

1; the first stage booster did not return to Earth as intended. Instead, she landed in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida unscheduled.

About 7 minutes and 25 seconds after launch, the first leg got out of control as they descended toward the Kennedy Space Center along the Atlantic Coast. Florida Coast There was a problem with one of the lattice ribs, which stabilized the first stage during the return be used to the earth through the thickening atmosphere.

"The grid fin hydraulic pump has stalled, landing Falcon directly on the sea." Senior designer Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the missile landed. "Seems to be undamaged and transmits data. Rescue ship deposed." Later, in response to a question about the redundancy of this system Musk added : "Pump is a single string." Some landing systems are not redundant, as the landing is considered critical to soil safety, but not as mission critical In that case, we'll probably add a spare pump and lines. "

Despite the landing problem, the missile completed its main mission with speed. Launched Wednesday afternoon from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the first stage took the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. The vehicle completed its solar panels on schedule and will be on its way to a meeting with the International Space Station later this week. The dragon carries 2.5 tons of cargo.

Since a long period of trial and error in the mid-2010s, SpaceX has had a remarkable track record of landing its rockets on land and at sea. The last landing error of a Falcon 9 rocket that the company wanted to return to the coast, or a drone ship from the sea, occurred on 15 June 2016 during a mission to bring two satellites in a geostationary transfer orbit. After the rocket had fired its heavy payload, the fuel was scarce before she put on the drone ship. Since then, the company has successfully landed 26 first-stage Falcon 9 rockets.

As usual, the SpaceX engineers are the problem rate and apply corrections for future missions. It's not clear how (if anything) this bug could affect the company's launch manifest. The company has another mission planned for 2018, an important GPS launch for the Luftwaffe. SpaceX had not planned this booster anyway.


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