Technical Problems Push The COTS 1 Test To Later This Week
SpaceX scrubbed Monday's planned second launch of the Falcon 9
rocket, which was also to have been the first test of the Dragon
COTS module. Technical issues caused SpaceX to push the launch to
no earlier than Thursday.
First Falcon 9 Launch
ANN EIC Jim Campbell was at Cape Canaveral for the launch. In a
telephone conversation, Campbell said the inspection of the second
stage nozzle assembly indicated a possible fracture or other
compromise in the system. As there is only one engine on the second
stage, the criticality of the nozzle compromise is fairly obvious.
It is not yet known if the nozzle will need to be replaced or if it
can be repaired.
Replacement of the nozzle would require a Friday or Saturday
launch. If it can be repaired, an earlier attempt is possible.
SpaceX was recently granted the first commercial FAA licence for
a spacecraft to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. The launch, when
it occurs, will be the first flight under NASA’s Commercial
Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to develop
commercial supply services to the International Space Station and
encourage the growth of the commercial space industry.
SpaceX Dragon Module
After the Space Shuttle retires, SpaceX is scheduled to make at
least 12 flights to carry cargo to and from the International Space
Station as part of a Commercial Resupply Services contract for
NASA. The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft were designed to
one day carry astronauts; both the COTS and CRS missions will yield
valuable flight experience towards this goal.