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NASA Experts Suggest That The SpaceX’s Rocket Technology Could Put Astronauts at Risk

As NASA and SpaceX prepare to launch humans into orbit as early as this year, one watchdog group labelled load-and-go a "potential safety risk," the Post reported.

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NASA image.
Just 11 years after Eisenhower authorized NASA, American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Pixabay

An approach used by SpaceX to make its Falcon 9 rocket more powerful could put the lives of astronauts at risk, NASA’s safety experts have warned.

To make the Falcon 9 rocket even more powerful, SpaceX came up with the idea of keeping the propellant at super-cold temperatures to shrink its size, allowing them to pack more of it into the tanks. But the approach comes with a major risk, The Washington Post reported on Saturday citing the experts.

The new approach requires the propellant to be loaded just before takeoff, while astronauts are aboard, but an accident during this manoeuvre, known as “load-and-go,” could set off an explosion.

An approach used by SpaceX to make its Falcon 9 rocket more powerful could put the lives of astronauts at risk, NASA's safety experts have warned.
A space shuttle, Pixabay

As NASA and SpaceX prepare to launch humans into orbit as early as this year, one watchdog group labelled load-and-go a “potential safety risk,” the Post reported.

In a letter, a NASA advisory group warned that the method was “contrary to booster safety criteria that has been in place for over 50 years.”

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SpaceX suffered a setback in September 2016 when a Falcon 9 rocket blew up while it was being fuelled ahead of an engine test.

As a result of the explosion, a multi-million dollar satellite was lost. Although no one was hurt in the incident, it raised safety concerns in the minds of the people at NASA.

The report quoted NASA’s William Gerstenmaier as saying that the agency had not decided whether it would allow SpaceX to load crews before loading the fuel. (IANS)

 

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NASA Failed to Trace Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram Lander on Lunar Surface

On July 22, the Rs 978-crore Chandrayaan-2 was launched into space by India's heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III

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NASA, Chandrayaan 2, Vikram Lander
A NASA scientist said the spacecraft failed to trace Vikram because of two reasons -- one, Vikram is located outside the area the US agency photographed, second, because it's lying in a shadowed part of the moon. Wikimedia Commons

US Space agency NASA has once again failed to trace Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram lander on the lunar surface.

A NASA spacecraft clicked photos of the landing site of Vikram earlier this month, but couldn’t capture the lander.

A NASA scientist said the spacecraft failed to trace Vikram because of two reasons — one, Vikram is located outside the area the US agency photographed, second, because it’s lying in a shadowed part of the moon.

On July 22, the Rs 978-crore Chandrayaan-2 was launched into space by India’s heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) in a text book style.

NASA, Chandrayaan 2, Vikram Lander
A NASA spacecraft clicked photos of the landing site of Vikram earlier this month, but couldn’t capture the lander. Wikimedia Commons

The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft comprised three segments — the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), Vikram (1,471 kg, four payloads) and Pragyan (27 kg, two payloads).

After five earth-bound orbit raising activities, Chandrayaan-2 was inserted into the lunar orbit. On September 2, Vikram separated from the orbiter. It made a historic landing attempt on September 7.

According to NASA, Vikram attempted a landing on a small patch of lunar highland smooth plains between Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters.

This event was India’s first attempt at a soft landing on the moon.

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The US agency said Vikram’s targeted landing site was located about 600 kilometres (370 miles) from the south pole in a relatively ancient terrain (70.8AoS latitude, 23.5AoE longitude).

According to NASA, Vikram had a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined. (IANS)