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SpaceX replaces faulty rocket valve for space station flight

Image: SpaceX NASA launch aborted

Erik S. Lesser  /  EPA

The engines are seen firing moments before the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft launch was aborted.
By Clara Moskowitz

SpaceX engineers have replaced a faulty engine valve on a private rocket carrying the first commercial space capsule bound for the International Space Station following the last-second abort during an attempted liftoff Saturday.

The valve replacement came after SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which will loft the firm’s unmanned Dragon capsule toward the station, aborted its launch attempt a half-second before liftoff from a pad here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Technicians investigating the glitch discovered a faulty check valve was to blame for the high engine pressure that forced the booster’s engines to unexpectedly shut down.

SpaceX engineers replaced the balky valve late Saturday, and are now inspecting the Falcon 9 rocket in preparation for a possible second launch attempt early Tuesday.

“We will continue to review data on Sunday,” company officials said in a statement Saturday evening. “If things look good, we will be ready to attempt to launch on Tuesday, May 22nd at 3:44 AM Eastern.”

Dragon is set to become the first non-governmental spaceship to rendezvous and berth at the space station during a mission sponsored by NASA’s COTS program (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) aimed at procuring commercial U.S. vehicles capable of filling the gap left by the retired space shuttles.  Read More

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Posted on May 20, 2012, in #technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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