A March 1, 2013 story posted on the Fox News site indicated that the thruster issues that have plagued the latest launch of the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship have been resolved. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has indicated that two of the thruster pods have been activated, giving the Dragon enough maneuvering power to rendezvous with NASA’s International Space Station. However the window for the planned Saturday morning arrival has closed.
The Dragon lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early Friday morning on March 1 in a picture perfect liftoff. But a glitch developed that prevented three of the four thrusters to come on line developed when the Dragon separated from the Falcon. The glitch also delayed the deployment of the spacecraft’s two solar panels which provide it with power.
SpaceX technicians worked diligently for several hours to resolve the glitch before thruster packs 1 and 4 were finally brought on line, allowing the Dragon to come under a measure of control. Musk has expressed confidence that all four thrusters will eventually come on line, establishing full control to the Dragon. The revised date of ISS rendezvous is currently pending.
Update: SpaceX has established control over all four thrusters and orbital manuevers have begun.