Florida Today reports on a NASA press conference about SpaceX’s Merlin engine problem. NASA says the engine is good to go for the next ISS mission, with certain precautions, but engineers still have not located a specific cause for the failure.
“Investigators think that extra testing may have contributed to a pressure chamber breach,” [NASA ISS program manager] Mike Suffredini said….
Suffredini said engineers had reviewed a huge amount of data but not produced a “specific smoking gun,” which he said is not uncommon when investigating systems cannot be recovered.
The next engines in line to fly have been inspected thoroughly, and none has been tested beyond the levels needed to certify them for flight.
It sure is nice to bring your engines back home with you, rather than dumping them into the ocean, isn’t it?
That’s hardly news to anyone in the aviation industry. A&P mechanics hate it when a pilot who doesn’t bring part of the airplane back with him.
Still, common wisdom in the space business says expendable vehicles must be cheaper and easier to develop. After all, Von Braun did it that way!
We’re just saying.