Falcon 9 RUD?

RSS

SpaceX is still investigating the anomaly that led to the loss of one of nine Falcon 9 rocket engines during the company's first commercial resupply services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Video of the Oct. 7 launch shows debris falling from the rocket as it speeds to orbit, though SpaceX says the engine did not explode because they continued to receive data from it.

In remarks to the Royal Aeronautical Society Nov. 16, SpaceX CEO and chief technical officer Elon Musk said Falcon 9 is designed to lose up to two engines to what's known in rocket-science lingo as a RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly) and still reach orbit. For CRS-1, Falcon 9 was able to carry out its primary mission, successfully delivering the company's Dragon cargo capsule to berth with the space station. However, the engine anomaly led to the loss of the rocket's secondary payload -- a prototype messaging satellite built for fleet operator Orbcomm -- just days after launch.

The Merlin motor that powers the current Falcon 9 rocket has been in development for almost a decade, and Musk has said in the past that the engine experienced its share of RUD events during testing.

"On the plus side," he told the BBC in an interview last week, "we demonstrated that we can indeed complete a mission if we lose an engine, including in a relatively violent way."

Please or Register to post comments.

What's On Space?

On Space

A Century of Aviation Week

Aviation Week & Space Technology celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.

 

Dec 9, 2016
Article

John Glenn's 1962 Mercury Pilot Report For Aviation Week 25

In 1962, John Glenn wrote a detailed pilot report for Aviation Week after his historic and harrowing flight in Mercury’s Friendship 7....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×