Thruster glitch delays ISS arrival for SpaceX’s Dragon capsule
(CNN) — SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo capsule suffered a temporary glitch with its thrusters after it achieved orbit Friday — a development that will delay its arrival at the International Space Station, NASA said.
The Dragon, launched Friday morning atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, had been expected to dock with the space station on Saturday to resupply the station’s crew.
But Friday’s hiccup will delay docking by at least a day, NASA said.
The Dragon is carrying more than 1,200 pounds of supplies for the crew and the crew’s experiments. The supply mission is SpaceX’s second of a planned 12 under a contract with NASA.
Shortly after the capsule separated from its rocket, SpaceX determined three of the capsule’s four thruster pods — which it would use to reach the station — weren’t operating. The problem appeared to be “an issue with a propellant valve,” SpaceX spokeswoman Christina Ra said.
SpaceX said that it appeared to have fixed the problem by Friday afternoon.
“Thruster pods one through four are now operating nominally. Preparing to raise orbit. All systems green,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted on Twitter Friday afternoon.
The California company planned to test Dragon’s systems and perform orbital maneuvers Friday evening, NASA said.
SpaceX became the first company to deliver supplies to the station on NASA’s behalf in October.
NASA chose SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and the Dragon spacecraft to resupply the space station in 2008. The space agency has retired its fleet of space shuttles and plans to turn much of its focus toward exploring deep into the solar system.