Author Topic: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly  (Read 45471 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #20 on: 09/10/2011 04:07 am »
Daniels said, "There was no explanation or root cause analysis or corrective action for this event." He only knows and has purview to what was presented to ASAP. We can't know one way or the other what NASA knew and when. As Jim said, ASAP /= NASA.
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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #21 on: 09/10/2011 04:13 am »
I'm sure Jim will correct me if I'm wrong, but this doesn't sound any more "important" than the mini-roll F9-1 did on liftoff. NBFD.

yes, it is just an additional feature that will be eliminated from future vehicles.

And I am not on the bandwagon.  They still have a long way to go.

 Every space launch is a near miss, because the margins are so tight.  And with a new vehicle, the issue is to make your vehicle can operate at the bounds of the margins in the various systems.

Offline Antares

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #22 on: 09/10/2011 04:16 am »
Yawn, a medium to major anomaly that didn't cause LOM on an early flight.  BFD.
Yes just like the O-ring on STS-51C or the foam liberation on STS-112 did not result in a LOM for those respective missions.

This is a big deal.....
No, it isn't and it isn't like the foam or Oring.  It happened on a test flight, which is supposed to find bugs like this. This is just like the problem on the first Delta IV heavy.  yes, it is a problem, but it is being worked and all the information was provided to NASA quickly.

Depletion settings, if that's (IMEO) what it was, are the simplest fix. A constant in a software load. Granted, a single wrong constant can cause LOM, but as usual with proprietary vehicles none of us can know the whole story on the outside. And those on the inside can't talk about it - only the owners of the data. And even they are limited by eyetar.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #23 on: 09/10/2011 04:26 am »
Good pre-emptive firefighting on this thread from Antares and Jim. Happened to see a thread on another site which is currently acting like the sky is falling and people should be sent to the Hague. They don't have a Jim or Antares ;D

Offline Diagoras

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #24 on: 09/10/2011 04:38 am »
Yawn, a medium to major anomaly that didn't cause LOM on an early flight.  BFD.

Daniels and Fragola have no idea what SpaceX told NASA, either way.  They just know that C/CA wasn't presented to ASAP.

Barkeep!  Back to my beer.

Quote
No, it isn't and it isn't like the foam or Oring.  It happened on a test flight, which is supposed to find bugs like this. This is just like the problem on the first Delta IV heavy.  yes, it is a problem, but it is being worked and all the information was provided to NASA quickly.

Aaaand the two big dogs have weighed in and agreed. That's good enough for me.
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Offline Lars_J

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #25 on: 09/10/2011 05:04 am »
Since there was no LOM, nor an early engine shut down despite the hotter than expected combustion at shutdown (?), at least that should give some bonus for the Merlin engines being able to handle it.

There are probably many other smaller issues that were noted during the last flight that we have no idea about. As long as SpaceX and NASA are aware, and improvements are being made, that's what matters.

From what we have been made public, there seems to have been tweaks to the F9 tanks and probably other hardware since the last flight. I'm sure software has been updated as well.


Offline neilh

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #26 on: 09/10/2011 05:37 am »
I'm wondering how many days it'll be before there's an article on this in the WSJ by Andy Pasztor with a headline like "SpaceX Launch Failure Threatens White House's NASA Outsourcing Plan."
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Offline Jason1701

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #27 on: 09/10/2011 06:04 am »
If only all flights were so successful that all people could nitpick was the mixture ratio in an engine upon shutdown.

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #28 on: 09/10/2011 06:32 am »
I don't recall at the moment - was there an orbit target published for this mission, and did they hit it within a reasonable margin?

Sorry...I'm a little too lazy at the moment to dig through the huge post-flight thread, and not very good at getting the results I'm looking for using the search.

The only thing concrete I see is Bowersox's saying there was an oxygen-rich shut down.

I don't see any indication of whether this was premature or nominal timing, but kevin-rf and Antares' speculation about mix makes sense.

Excess oxygen at shutdown in a hot turbopump is not a good condition for re-usability, but I'm having a hard time envisioning the LOM pathway.

Premature shutdown would be a little more concerning, but SpaceX insists they have margin for that.


I just went back and watched the highlights video again. There's a slight flash a second before the PAO reports the first two engines shut down, then MECO...it looks pretty nominal to me. The first stage very clearly did not explode.


I missed the news about the law suit previously. Why the heck was Mr. Fragola telling NASA in June that he had reason to believe the first stage exploded even though video showing the contrary had been in the public domain since the previous December?

Offline Pedantic Twit

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #29 on: 09/10/2011 07:17 am »
I don't recall at the moment - was there an orbit target published for this mission, and did they hit it within a reasonable margin?

Sorry...I'm a little too lazy at the moment to dig through the huge post-flight thread, and not very good at getting the results I'm looking for using the search.

From the COTS Flight 1 Press Kit: 300x300 km
From the live coverage thread: 288x301 km
The user guide notes to expect Ī10 km on perigee and apogee.
« Last Edit: 09/10/2011 07:40 am by Pedantic Twit »

Offline edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #30 on: 09/10/2011 03:12 pm »
I don't recall at the moment - was there an orbit target published for this mission, and did they hit it within a reasonable margin?

Sorry...I'm a little too lazy at the moment to dig through the huge post-flight thread, and not very good at getting the results I'm looking for using the search.

From the COTS Flight 1 Press Kit: 300x300 km
From the live coverage thread: 288x301 km
The user guide notes to expect Ī10 km on perigee and apogee.

The second stage had excess propellant (it performed a relatively long second burn) so the LEO orbit should not have been affected by a first stage anomaly. 

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Offline Diagoras

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #31 on: 09/10/2011 03:32 pm »
Good pre-emptive firefighting on this thread from Antares and Jim. Happened to see a thread on another site which is currently acting like the sky is falling and people should be sent to the Hague. They don't have a Jim or Antares ;D

Ooh, who? Name names!  ;D
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Offline Chris Bergin

Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #32 on: 09/10/2011 08:45 pm »
Not giving attention to armwaving ;)

Offline Diagoras

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #33 on: 09/10/2011 09:49 pm »
Not giving attention to armwaving ;)

And there goes may plan to log on to that site and scream "WIIIIIIIIIIITCH!" to cause further panic.

Phooey.
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Offline Downix

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #34 on: 09/10/2011 10:42 pm »
A second test flight and there were anomalies which could be compensated for, nothing unusual here.  In fact, it is common to find such issues on many launches.  The only concern I have is the long delay before acknowledgement, and even the very aggressive attempts to silence those who brought it up.  We expect first flight issues, that's the nature of any industry.  Shoot, we have airplanes with flight anomalies almost constantly.  I hope that this was overreaction from SpaceX, and does not happen again.  Not the anomaly, but the apparent attempt to cover it up.
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Offline Prober

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #35 on: 09/10/2011 11:11 pm »
Many of us had to bite our tongues about this.  We don't get to tell you about all the issues on each ELV flight.

+ 2 points to everyone to kept this quiet.   Good to see professional people are still around and can be trusted.
 
 
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Offline RocketEconomist327

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #36 on: 09/10/2011 11:12 pm »
Dear Lord.  I have never seen the response from Jim and Antares like that before.  It was like a pack of rhinos in the dessert when they spot a fire...

Glad to see this.

I would just add, from how Jim described it, just because SpaceX doesn't tell "da media" about problems doesn't mean that they did not tell the appropriate officials in NASA.

Clearly, the good folks at NASA can keep a sekrit.

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Offline Prober

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #37 on: 09/10/2011 11:20 pm »
I'm sure Jim will correct me if I'm wrong, but this doesn't sound any more "important" than the mini-roll F9-1 did on liftoff. NBFD.

yes, it is just an additional feature that will be eliminated from future vehicles.

And I am not on the bandwagon.  They still have a long way to go.

 Every space launch is a near miss, because the margins are so tight.  And with a new vehicle, the issue is to make your vehicle can operate at the bounds of the margins in the various systems.

The pieces all fit in the stories.  IMHO, NASA handled this about as well as the engine problems on the engine tests for Orbital. 
 
I was kinda hard on SpaceX for not launching a Cots test this month.  Clearly they weren't ready and doing some rework and all is fine.
 
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Offline Prober

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #38 on: 09/10/2011 11:29 pm »
I'm wondering how many days it'll be before there's an article on this in the WSJ by Andy Pasztor with a headline like "SpaceX Launch Failure Threatens White House's NASA Outsourcing Plan."

Thats not an issue, its all out in the open.   The real problem might be with Congress if/should/when they have been told or not.
 
Not an issue for lower NASA management, top brass?
 
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: SpaceX Acknowledges Falcon 9 Engine Anomaly
« Reply #39 on: 09/11/2011 12:34 am »
The only concern I have is the long delay before acknowledgement, and even the very aggressive attempts to silence those who brought it up. 

As I understand it, they filed suit against an industry insider who made untrue (still untrue) accusations to NASA officials.  The rest of it is not a "cover up", but standard corporate confidentiality agreement stuff.

Still, SpaceX has kept a lot of its troubles out of the public eye.  We've heard hints of a long-ago Merlin shredding itself on a test stand, for example, but never seen photos or videos.  We've never seen photos or videos of the Falcon 1 that imploded on the launch pad and never flew.  We've never seen the Falcon 1 Flight 1 crash and explosion video - something that has to have involved more than just SpaceX  - for many years now - since it happened on a U.S. range.  Etc.   

I understand this is their stuff and they can keep it under the rug if they want, but I'm not a fan of keeping important facts in file cabinets.  I want historians to know the real story - early failures and subsequent successes.  Someone send something to Wikileaks already!

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 09/11/2011 12:37 am by edkyle99 »

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