SpaceX is replacing two engines on its Falcon 9 rocket that will soon take four astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX is being modified after finding an object in the engines, allowing it to start before it is planned.
SpaceX found the object after a launch of the company stalled before the liftoff in October. One of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets has been tasked with launching a new GPS satellite for Space Force, shutting itself down just two seconds before takeoff. “It was a good omission,” Hans Koenigsman, vice president of SpaceX’s build and flight reliability, told a news conference. “He did exactly what we programmed him to do.”
Today, SpaceX announced that it has automatically shut down its own launch after the rocket tried to launch its nine main Merlin engines too early. Starting too early can lead to something difficult called a hard start, where the various propellants and fluids of the engine are connected in the wrong order. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 shuts itself down before then, but such a hard start can damage the hardware. “It doesn’t have to be bad, but in most cases, you know, it rocks the engine,” Koenigsman said. “And it hurts the engine a little bit, you know. In extreme cases, further damage to the engine. “
After the abortion, SpaceX inspected the engines and found a red lacquer that blocked the relief valve in each model Dell. Similar to nail polish, lacquer is used to treat surfaces, probably le left when engines were made. Koenigsman notes that he came from SpaceX vendors who work on the engine, although he did not name the company. “It could be that the person is now more generous in cleaning liquids or anything,” Koenigsman said. “This figure is a bit difficult for Ka Bit Va.”
SpaceX says it is working with sellers to implement corrective actions and in the short term the company will closely monitor all hardware. After the abortion, SpaceX also examined the engines in its fleet that will be used for the next launch. They invented any demonstration for this initial behavior and built five different engines on three different rockets. Two Falcon 9 rockets were on a mission called Crew-1, which will launch three NASA astronauts and a Japanese astronaut in November.
After this test, SpaceX opened all the engines and found the same lacquer inside. SpaceX also notes that Rogan was found mostly on new engines that were only recently built, not engines that have already flown in and out of space. Now, the company is preparing to replace the engine ahead of the Crew-1, which is temporarily set at ET on November 14 at 7:49 p.m. “Two, three days is all you need to get it out,” Koenigsman said of the engine swap. “And then another two, three days to put it back.”
Eventually, Crew-1 will not fly just days after launching a joint European and American satellite called SpaceX Sentinel-6, which is designed to map the world’s oceans. SpaceX found the affected engine on the Falcon 9 rocket for that flight and had to replace it as well. NASA wants to see how the launch will go before making a final decision about flying its astronauts on SpaceX’s Falcon On, with the Sentinel-6 launch currently scheduled for November 10 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Meanwhile, the four astronauts assigned to Crew-1 began staying at home with their families two weeks before the flight, before going to Jadbaslak. NASA also keeps them informed about the important details from engine swap and launching. “They’ve come to a lot of telecoms and are listening to what’s going on with the vehicles,” Steve Stitch, program manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew program, said during a press conference. “We have a little more work to do on this engine and offline flight … but I think we see a much better way to get on the flight and fly when we’re ready.”