Friday, March 01, 2013

recovered thruster pods

So, not perfect. After achieving orbit, the Dragon was to deploy its solar arrays and begin a series of burns to get to the International Space Station. But something went wrong.

Initially it looked like there was a problem with the solar array deployment. In fact, the deployment was put on hold due to another issue. The thruster pods were not working. They have a total of four pods. One was working; two are preferred for deploying the arrays; three are required for the approach to ISS.

SpaceX tried to resolve the problem within one orbit, so to keep to the original docking timeline for Saturday, but they were unsuccessful. A couple hours later they regained control of all four pods. And in short order, they began maneuvers to circularise the orbit. Whew.

Sunday remains an option for docking but everyone's cautious now. If they have a thruster failure during maneuvers, that could be dangerous. Fortunately, the whole design is that the Dragon only needs to get close. Then Canadarm comes to the rescue!

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