Feeds

SpaceX Falcon tests HOVERCRAFT tech – despite ISS outage

Dragon cargoship gets a go for launch later today

Build a business case: developing custom apps

NASA has said that SpaceX's latest cargoship launch to the International Space Station will go ahead, despite a critical computer outage on the station, allowing the firm to test the craft's hovering abilities.

The booster rocket that's blasting the Dragon supply capsule into space is going to attempt to make a hovering soft landing after it's disengaged and dropped back to Earth.

The spruced-up Falcon 9 has its own landing legs, which Elon Musk's space tech company hopes will eventually make for precise set-downs on the surface of alien worlds. For this test though, the rocket will still be coming down over the ocean, just in case.

The launch is already a month late with its nearly 5,000 pounds of payload, including VEGGIE, a new unit capable of growing salad vegetables for the 'nauts to munch on. The ship was delayed from March after a ground-based radar system at Cape Canaveral was damaged.

Mission control said yesterday that it would go ahead with the liftoff at 4.58pm EDT today after deciding that it wouldn't violate any launch commit criteria to head off for the station when it has a computer down. The backup command relay box, also known as a multiplexer/demultiplexer (MDM), sits in the station's S0 truss and went down on Friday.

The prime MDM is still operational. The MDMs control the ISS' external cooling system, its Solar Alpha Rotary joints and its Mobile Transporter rail car, as well as overseeing other truss systems.

Ahead of the Dragon launch, the stations' Mobile Transporter will be put into the proper position and then once the ship blasts off, the solar arrays will be set to the right angles for the capture of the cargoship and its berthing on the Harmony module. With these steps down, the station will be able to snag the Dragon even if there was a problem in the prime MDM.

An extra spacewalk is being planned for around 22 April to replace the back-up box with a spare the station already has. The 'nauts are busily prepping two US spacesuits for the stroll, including replacing a fan pump separator on one of the suits. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.