Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s carry-on capsule, had a problem with “nail polish”.
The ship is scheduled to send four astronauts no earlier than 7:49 pm Eastern time in November – a mission dubbed “Crew-1.” This will be the first crewed mission since the successful pilot flight in May 2020.
But prior to the magnification, SpaceX vice president Hans Koenigsmann explained during a NASA press conference this week that a problem with substance like “nail polish”; was discovered in one visit. Previous launchers had threatened to derail major plans. The incident caused NASA to delay the Crew-1 flight earlier this month.
“Truth is more foreign than imagined,” Musk wrote on his Twitter page in response to an article on word problems Teslarati.
Koenigsmann said the problem came to light during the GPS-III SV04 launch earlier this month, when SpaceX stopped the launch on October 2 after just two seconds until takeoff.
Problem? Two of the engines attempted to start early. To find out what happened, the team disassembled the engines and sent them to the McGregor test facility in Texas for further testing.
They found a component inside the gas generator – “essentially like a small rocket engine” – that supplies the propellant into the main chamber. Tests revealed a layer of mask lacquer, left over from the fabrication process, blocked a vent.
Lacquer is used to mask components during surface treatments. Koenigsmann speculates that some went into the vents during the washing or cleaning process. A “good analogy” for lacquer is “nail polish”, “in this case it’s red,” Koenigsmann said. Luxurious.
Upon closer inspection, the team found a similar problem on two of the Crew-1’s turbocharged engines. The same problem also affects an engine for the turbocharger used on the Sentinel 6 mission, which is scheduled to launch the satellite on November 10.
The team was “in the process of swapping two engines in the first stage of the Crew-1 vehicle due to this incident,” said Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew program director.
The Crew-1 launch has been delayed several times. A crew crew mission to the International Space Station was scheduled for 2012 in December 2016, but development delays on both SpaceX and Boeing parts pushed it back. It looks like things are back on track after a successful “Demo-2” test flight with two NASA astronauts, and the agency announced September 29 that Crew-1 will launch on May 31. ten.
But on October 10, NASA delayed the mission from October 31st to November launch “when the company assessed the nominal malfunction of the Falcon 9 early stage engine gas generator observed in a a recent non-NASA mission launch attempt. “
Then at the end of last week, the crew fell into “mild quarantine” after they “started working to overcome the anomaly” and “began to see a route to get to the flight. ” If all goes well, NASA will hold a static missile test on Monday, November 9, a routine test to activate the engines without moving the missile. On the 11th, the team will hold a rehearsal with the consortium, prior to its Saturday debut.
After the November 14 launch, Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the space station at around 4:04 am Eastern time on November 15, with a flight time of 8 and a half hours.
The Inverse analysis SpaceX has faced numerous launch delays in recent months and this story reveals some of the most surprising issues. While other launches have been delayed due to weather or camera issues, it appears that this was due to a small amount of matter falling in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
Successfully pinpointing the problem means that Crew-1 and Sentinel 6 can launch on schedule – if they manage it, it will be the first in a long series of spaceX launches where crew is expected. For NASA.