Thursday, August 02, 2007

Demo Flight 2 Review Update Released

Hey everyone.

I know it's been a little while, but there's a great report released by SpaceX on DemoFlight2. You might have already seen it, but in case you didn't, I thought I'd post it to the blog.

Some quick excerpts for the A.D.D. among us:

FAQ
Did the hot-fire abort during the previous launch attempt have any effect on any of the anomalies or observations?
No relationship between the March 19 (PST) abort and the above mentioned anomalies has been found. The engines are designed and tested to be re-started in rapid succession. All vehicle and ground systems showed nominal prior to the decision to attempt launch again.

What caused the abort of the first launch attempt?
Cold fuel caused the combustion chamber pressure to be approximately 0.5% below the engine computer abort limit after engine start. Investigation revealed that the fuel was colder than normal due to the previous day’s launch attempt. Draining back colder than normal fuel into insulated tanks did not allow sufficient time to warm to expected levels for the next day’s operation. The solution is to add warming to the fuel conditioning regimen and verify fuel temp in the T-2 hours launch commit criteria.

And, the conclusion to the report:
This mission represents a large step forward for SpaceX and the Falcon 1 launch vehicle. Although short of complete success, a significant majority of mission objectives were met from both a programmatic and technical perspectives. Open issues were identified, but no items are anticipated to require major re-designs to fix.

Obtaining flight data from the vehicle was the primary objective of this test flight and was clearly achieved based on both the quantity and quality of performance and environmental data. Additionally, concept of operation, procedures, ground systems and control automation systems were validated. A rapid response capability was also demonstrated with a hot-fire abort within 70 minutes of launch.

Stage 1 recovery was not demonstrated and represents the only operational domain from which data was not attained by this mission. Additionally stage 2 coast and Kestrel re-start was not demonstrated, nor was Payload simulator deployment. Eight anomalies were identified which will be addressed prior to the next mission.
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For the full report, click here.

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