Saturday, May 19, 2012

Houston, We Have a Problem...You're Full of Texans

Here's a Space Update from our Special Space Correspondent, Rocky Vosburg, Space Ranger:

The countdown made it all the way to T Minus Zero with "all systems go", and engine ignition actually commenced, but then, heartbreakingly, suddenly everything was not go; in fact, everything was kinda stop. Turns out the onboard computer monitoring software had noted a slightly high pressure reading in the combustion chamber of engine 5 (of 9), so automatic shutdown was duly initiated on all systems by the software and the launch was aborted.

It's a nuisance, not a crisis: Nothing blew up, and there is another launch window coming up on Tuesday, May 22, 3:44am ET (12:44am PT), by which time all performance data will have been examined, and the problem will be resolved. The solution may be as simple as tweaking the monitoring software a bit so it isn't quite so fussy about transient spikes in pressure readings!

From Scott:  In other words, all things were not, alas, "five by five."
Per aspera ad astra.


Jimbo said...

I sooo miss MST 3000. They just don't do em this way anymore.

Scott said...

You and me both, Jimbo. You and me both.

Jimbo said...

BTW, Scott, your bad movie reviews remain for me, as I know for so many others, the benchmark of incisive and well-articulated snarkiness and hilarity - a goal all serious reviewers should aspire to IMO.

We want to see more (but no pressure).

Scott said...

Thanks Jimbo, that means a lot. And while I've slacked off lately, I do have several really execrable films in the hopper, so there should be some foul, sun-ripened stinkitude coming your way soon.

Chris Vosburg said...

Hi, ChrisV Corbett, Space Cadet here.

Seemed appropriate to bump this update-of-an-update from comments of the previous post:

SpaceX posted last night:

Today’s launch was aborted when the flight computer detected slightly high pressure in the engine 5 combustion chamber. We have discovered root cause and repairs are underway.

During rigorous inspections of the engine, SpaceX engineers discovered a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine. We are now in the process of replacing the failed valve. Those repairs should be complete tonight. We will continue to review data on Sunday.

If things look good, we will be ready to attempt to launch on Tuesday, May 22nd at 3:44 AM Eastern.

So chill, they got this. I hope.

Incidentally, re: Falcon, Dragon, Merlin etc., okay, laugh all you want. Me, I always hated NASA's Atlas, Saturn, Delta, Apollo, etc. bombastic Greek God nomenclature, so I'm okay with it. Speaking as a former graphic artist, much nicer logo designs too.

So, again, up up up: Tuesday 22 May, 3:44am ET (12:44am PT).

And enjoy this evening's solar eclipse, west-coasters.

Carl said...

Why are billionaires wasting their money creating space craft when there are jobs to be created here on earth?

I mean, at LEAST in China, Elon! CHINA!

Chris Vosburg said...

Happily, SpaceX headquarters, factory and mission control are in Hawthorne, California (on the old Northrop site), employing 1800 people.

You can take a quick tour of the factory floor courtesy of Popular Mechanics here. Check out the Iron Man Model, autographed by Scarlett Johansson, woo woo.

Fun Fact To Know And Tell: Elon Musk was, according to Director Jon Favreau and Star Robert Downey Jr, the primary inspiration for the Iron Man movies' depiction of billionaire Tony Stark, and the SpaceX factory also served as location for an evildoer's lair.

Chris Vosburg said...

Looks like they hit it.

Lots of work still ahead, but the initial liftoff and stage separation are done deals, and again, looks like they got it.

One of the nice things about SpaceX is that none of these people feel compelled to talk like a shitkicker. If you've witnessed Canaveral launches from the, uh, golden era, you know what I mean-- jesus, they sound like '80s truckers: "that's a big ten-four, big ben, for sure for sure, and I'll leave the light on for ya".

SpaceX mission control makes no effort to emulate the adopted speech of the space program, and for this I thank them.

Carl said...

Coming soon to a city near you: ZipRocket, a rocket you too can fly for short errands or rent for the day.

Chris Vosburg said...

Take a bow, Elon.

And for God's sake get some sleep, kid.