Today, SpaceX showed that private companies can go where only government once dared to go. With Dragon successfully berthing to ISS, even after an engine shutdown during the ascent of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, private industry has shown it can overcome flight incidents and still complete the mission successfully and safely.
During the launch of the CRS-1 mission, one of the engines shut down. But the on-board software automatically recalculated the trajectory and the other eight engines continued to fire, delivering Dragon to its correct orbit. And today, the vehicle was successfully berthed to the International Space Station, delivering fresh supplies and research equipment to the astronaut crew.
“Of course this isn’t the first time where an engine flameout occurred,” said Jonathan Card, Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation. “The Saturn V on both Apollo 6 and Apollo 13 had similar situations. But this is the first time that a private rocket has lost one of its first stage engines, and still made its delivery.”
“This proves what the Space Frontier Foundation has said all along,” said Board Member and Advocate Coordinator James Pura. ”Yes space can be difficult and dangerous, but it’s not so impossible that the private sector can’t succeed. Obviously, this isn’t the kind of event you want to have happen on a regular basis, and SpaceX and NASA will investigate what happened and develop an appropriate solution. But with four successful launches of Falcon 9, three successful flights of Dragon, and two successful berthings at ISS, SpaceX has a lot to be proud of.”