On Friday, March 1, commercial spaceflight company SpaceX launched unmanned spacecraft Dragon Capsule to ISS. But unfortunately, the spacecraft experienced some sort of malfunction after separating from its rocket, Falcon 9.
The Dragon Capsule was launched into orbit atop SpaceX’s 157 feet tall Falcon 9 rocket at 10:10 a.m ET (15:10 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. It was filled with about 1,200 pounds (544 kilograms) of scientific experiments and supplies for the ISS crew. There was also another 600 pounds of hardware in its unpressurized “trunk.” When Falcon 9 rocket had reached in orbit, Dragon Capsule separated as usual from the rocket. Here’s the launch video.
But after separation, when Dragon was expected to deploy its solar arrays which was necessary to provide enough energy to reach the ISS, it experienced a glitch. Clogged pressurization lines had disabled the capsule’s fuel tanks shortly after the spacecraft reached orbit. To solve the problem, engineers pounded helium through the lines to clear debris that had disabled three of the four thruster pods for several hours and kept the capsule in a lower orbit. The problem was solved shortly after 4:00 p.m.
The Dragon was expected to dock at the ISS on Saturday at 6:30 a.m. ET (1100 GMT). But due to unprecedented glitch, Dragon will reach the ISS on Sunday.
The Dragon is scheduled to return the Earth on March 25, carrying more than 2,000 pounds of cargo. It will land, to be more specific, fall, into the Pacific Ocean.