SpaceX Dragon Took on Water After Splashdown

Media reports indicate that the SpaceX CRS-3 Dragon capsule which splashed down into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, took on water as it waited through a recovery effort which apparently lasted longer than usual.

According to a report in Aviation Week:

“The quantity of seawater intrusion and the source is unclear, said Dan Hartman, NASA’s deputy ISS program manager. All of the science equipment and other NASA hardware in the Dragon capsule is in good shape, he said during a May 21 briefing.”


“Witnesses at the port observed significant water as the cold storage containers brought back from the ISS were removed, and there was a report the capsule’s internal humidity sensors tripped, according to an industry source.”

The Dragon was actually returning several water bags from orbit as part of an investigation into the leaking spacesuit which endangered Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano last year, leading to early concerns that one or more of those bags may have ruptured.  With that possibility now dismissed, SpaceX will begin the process of inspecting the capsule back in Texas,  as it does after every mission, and looking for a culprit.  Observers noted that the spacecraft splashed down into fairly active seas, and being somewhat more heavily laden than on previous flights, the Dragon would have naturally settled a little deeper into the water as it awaited pickup.

This incident appears to be different than one which took place on the CRS-1 mission, when water intrusion into the equipment bay under the pressure shell shorted out several power units, leading to temporary loss of power to a GLACIER freeze on board.  Power was restored as the spacecraft was hauled aboard the recovery ship, without any damage to specimens contained inside.

May be time to install a bilge pump.


Posted in: SpaceX

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