The Spin on CRX-3

by nasaaave


The NASA & SpaceX spin machines are in full operation

They need to cover the failed Cargo program

The good news May 18th 2014 SpaceX successfully returned the dragon mission to earth.


SpaceX-3 Mission To Return Dragon’s Share of Space Station Science

April launches bring May research returns. While the splashdown of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on May 18 will conclude the company’s third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station, it also serves as a high point for the scientists who have investigations returning to Earth who are eager to complete their analyses.

When the Dragon spacecraft splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, it will carry with it more than 1,600 pounds of scientific supplies. These supplies include samples from biology, biotechnology and physical science investigations, as well as human research.

While on the face of it this is good news, when you peel back the hype things look less encouraging.

“While some of this data can be obtained by on orbit analysis, many analysis techniques have not been miniaturized or modified to allow them to be performed on orbit, which means sample return is the only way to obtain this data,” said Marybeth Edeen, space station research integration office deputy manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

 The last few missions landing on water had some major problems.  Water leaked into various areas of the prior Dragon design.   We don’t know all the facts. NASA is in a very bad position having only the SpaceX dragon contracted for downmass or return of science from the ISS.

The Dragon in this mission is the redesigned, and upgraded version. In prior Dragon returns, the power to maintain the freezers of bio science failed. Some water also go other sealed sections. Was the very expensive science damaged?  Only an investigation into the program would bring the facts to the public.

But the major problem with the service SpaceX is giving the US taxpayer;  It’s too little too late.  CRX-3 was  even on a deferred schedule.  The mission should have launched, and returned in the fall of 2013.  The science should have been in our earthly hands in August or September of 2013.

So Elon Musk’s company SpaceX spins how great this launch, and return are for NASA, and the taxpayers.  Launching and retuning in the April-May 2014 can’t be considered a success.  Overlooking all the problems launching, and returning its just not good enough!  One return of Dragon to earth just doesn’t come near to replacing the amount of cargo that could be returned on the Space Shuttle.

The taxpayers are NOT saving money as the science being done on the ISS is sitting in storage in orbit.  The program is a failure.  2014 started out with 3 SpaceX launches scheduled for NASA.  It doesn’t look to be getting any better in the near future.   SpaceX ran into another launch problem with the Orbcomm OG2 mission in the last few weeks.  A high pressure helium tank failed inside the launcher.    CRX-4 is on the NASA schedule to launch in August 2014 but that might not happen anywhere near this time.

On the SpaceX schedule of launches,  3 commercial satellite are lined up before NASA’s much needed launch.  In the past NASA has been tolerant of SpaceX but there is a contract, so who comes first?