Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dragon In Flight

Turns out SpaceX's Dragon rocket...let's just say, if I was going to go into space, I'd be heartened by the fact that this rocket can lose an engine and still make it to orbit safely.

Follow this link for the video. SpaceX are saying the engine didn't actually 'explode', but there was an 'anomaly'. (In other words, they don't know exactly what happened until they finish analyzing all the data). However, all of the backup and safety features cut in just as they were designed to do.

This is the level of redundancy we need if we're going to start sending regular people into orbit, although I'm still convinced traditional rockets are not the way to do it.

So I'm going to give SpaceX a kudos. Engines fail all the time...that's why jets always have at least two of them. (These days, there are very few four engined planes, mostly because modern jets are much less likely to fail than twenty years ago, and perhaps the successors to the Dragon will have fewer than its current number of nine). You can't design on the assumption this will never happen - and they designed on the assumption that it would.

Keep it up.