back to article Elon Musk's Falcon 9 suffers rocketus interruptus in pad test

The Falcon 9 rocket made by famed tech hecamillionaire Elon Musk's company SpaceX has suffered a test-firing failure on the pad in Florida. The Falcon 9 spits fire briefly during an aborted static test. Credit: SpaceX Bloody thing must be flooded. Flames and black smoke belched briefly from the bottom of the rocket as the …

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Speaking as a QA Engineer...

It wasn't a failed rocket engine test ... it was a successful test of the automated launch abort systems!

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Operations

I have long been impressed with the ability of SpaceX to safely abort engine burns. In situations where other operators would continue with the burn and lose the vehicle, SpaceX recover, collect data, and retest.

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Coat

"Rocketus interruptus"?

Is that your snide way of saying that you don't think that SpaceX can get it up?

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It wasn't a problem with the rocket.

A valve on a ground based high pressure helium line didn't open because the launch sequence computer wasn't programmed to open it. The ground equipment at the Texas test stand doesn't have that particular valve.

If the weather had allowed, SpaceX would have had another go yesterday. They are only waiting for better weather now.

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@Anonymous John

"A valve on a ground based high pressure helium line didn't open because the launch sequence computer wasn't programmed to open it. The ground equipment at the Texas test stand doesn't have that particular valve."

Interesting if accurate. This suggest (again) the importance of configuration control (not just on the SW but the the ground equipment) and version control (Different ground HW ->Different control SW).

And what happens when the relevant sections are not kept in synch.

However the real story is their system *worked*. Trouble spotted, handled before it got out of hand. A useful reminder that Nemesis awaits anyone believing they have all the options wired.

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Happy

Agreed

I was just pointing out that it was a minor problem, identified and rectified before the El Reg article.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/001/status.html

And the engine test went flawlessly. Looking good for an April 12 launch.

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worked exactly as designed

the highly complex machine experienced a critical failure and was able to safely shut down the rocket without damage. And it did so during testing which was being done to find stuff exactly like this.

Try doing *anything* on most launch systems after a t-2 abort, much less in two or three days. That you still have a flyable vehicle that isn't damaged by the abort procedure itself is short of amazing.

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Boffin

@Rick Brasche

"Try doing *anything* on most launch systems after a t-2 abort, much less in two or three days. "

That has little to do with rockets and a *lot* to do with their design. Cartridge starters, 1 shot use ablative panels that are difficult to replace are a legacy of the ICBM based designs. It looks like SpaceX have recognized that in a real commercial launch environment time is money and rather than hope nothing will happen plan to deal with it when it does.

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Coat

pfft

We Brits had Merlin engines working decades ago- just ask the Luftwaffe!

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