Dragon Experiences Anomaly After Reaching Orbit

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Update: “Solar array deployment successful,” SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tweeted at 11:49 a.m. EST. But completing the mission appears untennable unless SpaceX gets at least three of Dragon’s four thrusters working. Developing…

WASHINGTON — SpaceX’s Dragon capsule experienced a propulsion problem after being delivered to drop-off orbit. 

“One thruster pod is running. Two are preferred to take the next step which is to deploy the solar arrays. We are working to bring up the other two in order to plan the next series of burns to get to station,” SpaceX spokeswoman Christina Ra said in a statement emailed to reporters after an hour after liftoff.

“If, when and where a press conference may be is still TBD,” Ra added.

Live webcast of the launch was cut off ofter SpaceX flight controllers declared a Dragon anomaly around the time of scheduled solar array deployment.

“Issue with Dragon thruster pods. System inhibiting three of four from initializing. About to command inhibit override,” SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tweeted at 10:40 a.m. EST.

Twenty four minutes later, Musk tweeted: “Holding on solar array deployment until at least two thruster pods are active” followed by “About to pass over Australia ground station and command inhibit override.”

Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket occured at 10:10 a.m. EST at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell told reporters during a Feb. 28 press launch press conference that Dragon has enough onboard battery power to attempt one rendezvous and berthing with the space station without solar arrays deployed.

Dragon is carrying more than 1,000 kilograms of science equipment, spare parts, food and supplies for the six-member station crew.

Meanwhile, NASA referred reporters on the scene to SpaceX for more details.