The next Falcon 9 commercial launch, scrubbed from early May, has now been rescheduled to June 11.


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The next Falcon 9 commercial launch, scrubbed from early May, has now been rescheduled to June 11.

This new date is a significant slip in the schedule, as they originally announced only a two week delay, and this adds on another two weeks. The original announced reason for the scrub was umbilical connection issues, but a commenter here at Behind The Black says it might have been something more serious, “a helium pressurization bottle burst in the stage.”

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2 comments

  • geoffc

    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/05/spacex-targets-june-11-falcon-9-orbcomm/ says it was a Helium leak that needed to be repaired, and suggests it might be similar to issues the Shuttle had with Composite Overwrap Vessels for Helium and Nitrogen storage.

  • Dick Eagleson

    The potential explosion problem faced by the late Shuttle fleet was owing to the Composite Overwrap Vessels on board the orbiters averaging over two decades in age as these venerable ships reached their planned ends-of-service. Old composites tend toward embrittlement as they age. Lots of pressurization/depressurization cycles can contribute to problems too. When SpaceX starts reusing its F9 first stages, they may well have to start watching for problems with inert gas pressure vessels. Right now, however, the parts on each F9 are all spandy-new and shiny. Even the Shuttles, with their elderly bits and pieces, never actually had such a bottle explode.

    The explosion of such a pressure vessel would rip the hell out of the rocket and render it scrap. SpaceX is chasing a leak, not an explosion. Helium is the smallest gas molecule and is very good at getting past seals, especially when it’s under extreme pressure. Helium plumbing is tricky to design, construct and debug. SpaceX uses helium pressure in a lot of places other designs use pyro devices, such as for stage separation. This makes their design somewhat more vulnerable to helium leaks. These are minor teething problems at worst.

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