October 10, 2012
While Dragon Survives, One Satellite Failed After Engine Anomaly
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
While the Dragon capsule was able to survive an engine failure with the Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday, news broke that a satellite aboard a secondary payload suffered from the event.SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday, with both the Dragon capsule and Orbcomm's prototype OG2 communication satellite onboard.
During launch, one of the rocket's nine Merlin engines lost pressure and suddenly shutdown, leaving its secondary mission in jeopardy.
The Dragon capsule jettisoned from the rocket, and was able to dock with the International Space Station on Wednesday morning, however, the satellite didn't have the same successful outcome.
Orbcomm said in a statement that the satellite was deployed in the wrong orbit, missing its mark by possibly between 200 to 300 miles, according to Jonathan's Space Report as reprinted by Reuters.
The company said an analysis has begun to determine if the satellite can use its onboard propulsion system to boost its orbit.
The initial plan for the satellite was for it to launch into orbit after leaving Earth's atmosphere on the back of the Falcon 9, but the OG2 missed its target because of the engine loss.
The satellite was the first of 18 OG2 satellites that will be carried into space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
Orbcomm said they are currently in contact with the satellite to see if they can get it to rise in orbit.
Falcon 9 was able to complete its primary mission of getting the Dragon capsule at a place where it could resupply the International Space Station.
Early Wednesday morning, Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams used the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm to snag the Dragon and place it in its docking port.
Dragon is scheduled to spend 18 days attached to the station, during which the crew will unload 882 pounds of crew supplies, science research and hardware from the cargo craft and reload it with 1,673 pounds of cargo for return to Earth.
Dragon will be detached from the Harmony module on October 28, and will be released by ISS for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
This was the first official resupply mission SpaceX has been contracted out to do. Dragon will have 11 more to do after this mission.