The launch and orbital insertion of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft with 2,300 pounds of cargo bound for the International Space Station (ISS) was successful this morning. This is great news indeed given the engine explosion in the last launch.
Although the launch was a success, there was some issues once the Dragon reached orbit. Elon Musk reported on Twitter that there was a glitch with three of the four thruster pods on Dragon preventing them from initializing. As Dragon passed over the Australian ground station the ground crew issued a “command inhibit override”. After resolving the glitch in thruster pod 3 the solar arrays were deployed and focus turned to thruster pods 2 and 4. Hours later Musk reported that all pods were clear and all systems were green. Not long after he reported that the orbit raising burn was a success and Dragon is off to the International Space Station.
I anticipate the naysayers of SpaceX will point out that there was ANOTHER problem with Dragon and Falcon 9. To me I believe it’s the opposite. SpaceX demonstrated that they have the technical skill to troubleshoot the problem and fix it quickly and efficiently. Elon Musk demonstrated honesty through his Twitter account by providing a play-by-play account of the troubleshooting process. I think it is great he does this because, as a private company, SpaceX is not required to do this. He of course is required inform NASA but he owes no transparency to the general public. It is NASA’s job to handle the PR ultimately. To me it demonstrates his transparent honesty, leadership, and his confidence in the team he has assembled at SpaceX. I’m looking forward to more from SpaceX and Mr. Musk as we accelerate forward into the private space future.
Video of today’s launch