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Encouraging News

About SpaceX:

If the problem is confirmed to be a simple and easily fixed design flaw, they may not launch again "tomorrow" but I wouldn't be too surprised if there was another flight within a couple of months.

...Lost in the hubbub over the flight failure was the fact that once again they were able to do a quick resumption of the launch procedure after a hot-fire abort. This sort of robustness in the launch operations and the use of small crews are crucial factors in lowering the cost of launch.

And as noted, the new Merlin apparently performed well. Had it not, that would have been a real setback for both Falcon 1 and 9.

[Update after lunch, Pacific Time]

Henry Spencer has more thoughts, with some history.

It seems quite likely that it was caused by the new engine--that's the only thing that changed between the last flight and this one, and Henry points out a couple potential plausible scenarios for that.

That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the engine--it just means that the overall vehicle design and operations have to account for the new characteristics.


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MG wrote:

Mr. Musk mentioned that the "Big Three" for mission loss was:


It would seem that the first, and perhaps the third, are already in pretty good shape.

ken anthony wrote:

Musk: ...the first order of business is to get rid of design errors, ...once those are eliminated then you're dealing with repeatability, [judge us by] all the design issues we've ironed out through these F1 test flights.

Was it a good idea for SpaceX to use the new engine on this flight? I think so. Especially if it contributed to the separation issue because they might not have found out about it otherwise. Or rather, they might have experienced it on a more critical flight.

I like what I hear him saying.

Tom Hill wrote:

I think this analysis overlooks the separation issue that happened on the last flight and the fact that they needed to make some changes in the mechanism. The new Merlin engine wasn't the only change.

Mark Michael wrote:

judging by the telecon just concluded

Henry Spencer is a freaking genius ...

Rand Simberg wrote:

Henry Spencer is a freaking genius ...

Oh, like that's news...

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on August 5, 2008 11:52 AM.

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