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NASA Seeks Data From SpaceX Rocket Motor Failure

Anomaly Occurred During The Company's March 18 Launch

NASA has asked SpaceX for information concerning the failure of an engine on a Falcon 9 rocket March 18th that may delay the company's first manned mission, which is planned for sometime in May.

Teslarati reports that during the March 18 flight, the Falcon 9 booster B1048, which was on its historic fifth launch, suffered an engine failure. The anomaly was captured on the official SpaceX official webcast.

The booster's flight computer adjusted for the failed motor, and burned the functioning eight engines for several seconds longer than planned to deliver the payload to its intended orbit. But the extra burn time meant there was not enough propellant remaining to recover the booster.

NASA on Wednesday asked SpaceX for all relevant data connected to the engine failure. “According to the CCtCap contracts, SpaceX is required to make available to NASA all data and resulting reports. SpaceX, with NASA’s concurrence, would need to implement any corrective actions found during the investigation related to its commercial crew work prior to its flight test with astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX are holding the current mid-to-late May launch timeframe, and would adjust the date based on review of the data, if appropriate," the agency said.

"Adjust the date" translates to delaying the first manned flight to the ISS.

The anomaly was the first in-flight failure for a Merlin 1D engine, according to the report.

The engine that failed was on its fifth mission, making it the most reused rocket booster ever launched. NASA's contract with SpaceX requires the use of a new Falcon 9 rocket, so it is possible that this issue may not cause a delay, or at least not a lengthy one. But NASA says that SpaceX will be required to complete an internal failure review and make necessary hardware, software or rule changes before it can undertake a manned mission for the agency.

(Image from file)

FMI: Source report


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