Yesterday Ken Kremer published a story on-line at universetoday.com entitled “How the Air Force and SpaceX Saved Dragon from Doom.” He quoted liberally from an e-mail I had sent to Nancy Atkinson on March 5, 2013, when she contacted me about the problems with the last SpaceX launch and the Dragon capsule that successfully rendezvoused and docked with the International Space Station (ISS) in March 2013. The question was about what had been suggested was “the rather amazing recovery of the Dragon capsule.” My response was about how the engineers working on these flight projects have successfully resolved problems in their missions many times in the past and that these recoveries are less “amazing” than we might think when just considering this example with Dragon.
I didn’t know that my e-mail would be excerpted into this story, but regardless what I said was well expressed in this report. I do want to emphasize once again that the successful completion of the Dragon mission to ISS was really an example of the flight team doing what flight teams do best, solving problems and bringing missions to successful completions. Most of the time we don’t hear much about the problems, and even less about the often intensive efforts to resolve them, but they take place all the time. Check out this story and what happened to recover in this particular instance.