Social Media Sidebar


Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.


Thomas Edison

Rocket problems may delay SpaceX's first crewed launches

Posted in Science on 4th Feb, 2017 11:18 PM by Alex Muller

When it comes to spaceflight, SpaceX's prices and flair are hard to beat. But the company hasn't exactly had smooth flying lately. There've been a few explosions, and the most recent blast in September has raised questions about whether the company's fueling operations could endanger future astronauts.


Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that a problem in the Falcon 9's engine could jeopardize SpaceX's goal of becoming the first private company to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station in 2018.


The WSJ article (which is behind a paywall) reports that the Government Accountability Office found the turbine blades that pump fuel into the Falcon 9's engines liable to crack. A GAO report later this month is expected to detail the leaked findings.
Popular Science reached out to GAO to check the facts, but the public affairs office isn't allowed to discuss the report's findings until it comes out in a few weeks.
WSJ reports the turbopump cracks could "pose an unacceptable risk for manned flights." Which is not great news, given the fact that SpaceX hopes to launch its first astronauts in 2018—a milestone that has already been delayed several times.
When asked for more info, SpaceX directed us to this comment from SpaceX's John Taylor:
We have qualified our engines to be robust to turbine wheel cracks. However, we are modifying the design to avoid them altogether. This will be part of the final design iteration on Falcon 9. SpaceX has established a plan in partnership with NASA to qualify engines for manned spaceflight.
It's not clear whether these modifications will delay the first crewed missions, but it seems quite possible both SpaceX and its competitor, Boeing, will miss the 2018 deadline.
Paulo Lozano, an aerospace engineer at MIT, says cracks on these kinds of blades are relatively common, considering rocket engines undergo a tremendous amount of heat and mechanical stress. But if the cracks turn into breaks, they could potentially lead to "catastrophic failure"—which, in rocket science, generally means explosions.
The blades' reported cracking problem is particularly concerning because the Falcon 9 is designed to be reusable, meaning the engines will need to withstand the mechanically traumatic ordeal of escaping Earth's gravity again and again.
"I think it's good they've detected those cracks and hopefully can correct them," says Lozano.
Fortunately, SpaceX is working with NASA on the planned commercial crew launches, and the space agency has solved similar problems before.

Tags: spaceSpaceXbusinessNASArocket

Read original article » Back to category


Author: Guest
Posted: 2017-02-05
Space exploration have high risks and this not going to change so quickly - not just for NASA and SpaceX but even more for the newcomers to the space race Reply


Recent headlines

  • Posted in Software on 2018-06-21 03:22:47
    IBM Unveils System That 'Debates' With more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-21 03:12:27
    NASA unveils bold new plan to protect Earth from more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-21 03:03:04
    Machine learning may be a game-changer for more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-20 02:26:18
    Pushing the limit: could cyanobacteria terraform Mars? more
    Posted in Medicine on 2018-06-20 02:23:08
    Hospital Begins Testing VR As A Pain Relief more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    In five years quantum computing will be more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Google partners with Johnson and Johnson to make lower more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Electron holography microscope with spatial resolution down more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Lower cost advanced Nuclear power could dominate future US more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Why Hasn’t AI Mastered Language Translation? more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Remember me

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Verify password:
Remember me