SpaceX’s CRS-1 Mission Concludes With Splashdown!

Photo Credit: SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft has returned home. At 3:22 p.m. the capsule splashed down a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico. With the safe return of the Dragon, the first private cargo delivery flight to be launched from the United States has reached a successful conclusion.

SpaceX is contracted to conduct eleven more resupply flights to the International Space Station (ISS) under the Commercial Resupply Services contract.

SpaceX launched the first mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract on Oct. 7, 2012 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-40. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/

“With a big splash in the Pacific Ocean today, we are reminded American ingenuity is alive and well and keeping our great nation at the cutting edge of innovation and technology development,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “Just a little over one year after we retired the Space Shuttle, we have completed the first cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Not with a government owned and operated system, but rather with one built by a private firm — an American company that is creating jobs and helping keep the U.S. the world leader in space as we transition to the next exciting chapter in exploration. Congratulations to SpaceX and the NASA team that supported them and made this historic mission possible.”

The Dragon used on the CRS-1 mission, was loaded with approximately 1,995 lbs worth of cargo. About 260 lbs of this was crew supplies, 390 lbs of critical materials that will support numerous experiments on the space station.

With the Dragon safely back home, it will be transported via boat to a part located Los Angeles, Calif. Once there, it will be readied for the trip back to SpaceX’s test facility located in McGregor, Texas. Upon arrival, the cargo that the station’s crew packed the capsule-shaped spacecraft will be unloaded (this excludes some cargo that was removed at the port). The cargo will be returned to NASA and includes a GLACIER freezer that contains research samples that were collected on the ISS.

This marks the first time that the Dragon supported the return of frozen samples back to Earth. This ability is viewed as crucial to supporting science onboard the ISS and returns a portion of the capabilities that was lost at the end of the space shuttle era.

Image Credit: Max-Q Entertainment

Dragon was launched to the ISS on Oct. 7, 2012. This was the fourth flight of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and the second flight of the Dragon to the orbiting laboratory. This month’s launch was not without its problems however. Launch occurred at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at 8:34 p.m. EDT.

On ascent, some 79 seconds after launch, one of the Falcon 9’s engines was destroyed after an anomaly forced the Falcon 9’s computer to shut it down (the Falcon 9 compensated by burning its surviving eight Merlin engines longer than scheduled).


Video courtesy SpaceX, slowed version posted by SpaceKSCBlog

This failure caused the Orbcomm satellite that were deployed from the launch vehicle’s second stage to enter the improper orbit. Both satellites reentered the Earth’s atmosphere a few days later and the Orbcomm company has announced that the mission was a total loss.

After plummeting through the Earth’s atmosphere, the Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. Image Credit: SpaceX


Missions » ISS » COTS » Missions » ISS »


  1. The failed engine was NOT! destroyed. All they did was shut it down(turned it off). What ever happened to reporters getting their facts from factual sources? Jeeeeez!

  2. “The failed engine was NOT! destroyed. All they did was shut it down(turned it off).”

    The SpaceX Merlin engine was automatically shut down because of abnormal instrument readings, presumably to try to avert destruction of the booster, after which there was a relatively small visible explosion.

    Clearly, there was a real engine malfunction. It was not just a sensor failure. Merely shutting down an engine does not usually cause an explosion.

    As to whether or not the engine was destroyed, it was still sufficiently intact to continued to send measuremnt data, but it was clearly no longer functional. The booster was instantly transformed into a Falcon 8 with an additional ton of dead weight.

  3. Note to all, anyone watching the video would safely assume that the engine was destroyed. For those unaware of what destroyed actually means:

    Destroyed: To reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal.

    Watch the video for yourself, see the useless fragments rain down from the Falcon 9, also see it rent, burning and you will know that the engine has been injured beyond repair.

    We understand SpaceX’s supporters have issues with acknowledging this issue and would like to word it to make it sound better – but we won’t do so.

    Also, calling into question the integrity of this website from the safe confines of a pseudonym – speaks volumes.

    Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  4. Jim,

    “Ferris Valyn” is a pseudonym for Aaron Oesterle. So my “flinty” comments were dead on. Rest assured, I’m not the type of person to defend someone attacking a website’s integrity under a fake name. Now THAT would be awkward! I hope this isn’t representative of how you normally behave…

    Care to explain why you posted Bridwell’s Linkedin page?

    Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

    • Jason,

      I’ve never denied who I am. My name, email, and where I’ve post is well known.

      As for acknowledging issues – well, we’ve had discussions about other topics, where data is ignored.

  5. Looked to me (casual visitor to your website) like you were attacking Nelson Bridwell, mistaking the name for the Mad Magazine/DC Comics legend as a pseudonym. My mistake, feel free to delete.

  6. Jim,

    Nelson’s one of our regulars & posts the type of comments we like. If he disagrees with us, he does so on facts & doesn’t resort to ad hominem attacks.

    As to deletetion? Nah, you were straight, you stated you made a mistake. I’m not perfect (look to an earlier comment) – I got the number of Orbcomm satellites wrong.

    The thing that concerns me? Is if SpaceX’s supporters get so bent out of shape about a single word? What will happen when the F9 encounters an anomaly that costs the entire launch vehicle – and possibly a crew. It’s an inconvenient truth, but I guess we will see what their definition of “is” is.

    Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

    • Jason,

      Surely you jest – you’ve accused me of lawyering when it came to Obama’s speech.

      Guess what – I maintain that correct wordage is ALWAYS to be examined and important. You may disagree.

      Your choice.

      • Aaron,

        When wordage works against your interests, you get upset. As to the Obama speech? He came to Brevard County & promised to support “Moon, Mars & Beyond.” To space workers, working on the VSE that meant he’d support their efforts. Listening to that speech and being able to tick off all the promises he broke? Is rather damning of him & his surrogates. You? You attempted to drag out some White Paper! Aaron, normal people listen to what a person says, they don’t research obscure documents for their information. Foisting this up as some “proof” that he didn’t say what he said (as any normal person can see by watching the video) reeks of desperation.

        Lastly, all of your opinions would carry far more weight – if you would stop trolling and use your real name in posts. When you go to a site and question the integrity of a site under a fake name (partial or otherwise)? Aaron, I hope even you can see how hypocritical that makes you look.

        Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

        • Jason,

          I’ve responded to the speech itself numerous times. I maintain that the speech, and the white paper (which, BTW, to act as if the White Paper doesn’t have any meaning is completely unreasonable), both point to the same situation – he didn’t NOT endorse Constellation. You disagree. You’ve presumed that because he endorsed the destination rhetoric of Constellation, he was endorsing Constellation itself. I’ve always maintained that without endorsing the vehicles and programs themselves, he wasn’t endorsing them when he was speaking of destinations themselves.

          You are free to disagree, but this is ENTIRELY consistent with the point about the importance of parsing every word.

          Finally, I’ve laid out my reasons for using a pseudonym elsewhere. I have consistently used the same pseudonym (which, BTW, is still have of my actual name). It is no different than my grandmother who went commonly by her middle name as well (or if you prefer another historical example, President Eisenhower).

          The reality is you, and Americaspace, won’t “take me seriously” because you don’t like my message or my critiques. You have a perspective and something of an agenda (as do I, I won’t deny), and my view is quite different from yours. And thats your real problem

          • Aaron,

            Anyone at that speech would have been safe to assume that when the president used the motto of the VSE in his speech – he was showing support for the program of record. They shouldn’t have to “parse” anything nor dig up some white paper.

            The fact that every time his speech is mentioned you attempt to redirect attention away from it to this paper nobody read – highlights you know that the speech, viewed today, is damning. What you’re trying to do is interpret what he said to conform with your personal opinions.

            It is differnt Aaron, for the simple fact that you have no problem insulting, attacking and calling into question the integrity of others – while doing so under a fake name.

            I personally cannot take you seriously because you hide behind a “handle” (what are you a truck driver?) post snarky and negative comments and reinvent history, instead of debating the topic at hand. As for an agenda? You need to practice what you preach and rersearch some of my previous articles on NewSpace. I highlight both sides.

            Whenever an issue relating to your opinions is highlighted, you attack those that discuss these issues. My “problem”, is by covering up, by redefining what an issue is – you ensure that the problem will happen again. This could one day cost crews their lives. The media’s responsibility is to hold companies, organizations & individuals accountable – not to pander to your personal beliefs. Sorry Aaron, my “problem” is that I refuse to rewrite history for you.

            I have no problem with your different perspective I do have one with how you say it.

            Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

            • Jason,

              Quoting you…

              “They shouldn’t have to “parse” anything nor dig up some white paper. ”

              Why? We live in a word of focus groups and polling, of political consultants and professional speech writers, of spin rooms.

              Why shouldn’t we have to “parse anything”

              • Aaron,

                Because when an elected official says something – it matters. Actions, words and votes have consequences. That world you mention? Shouldn’t be in journalism. We take what that person said at that time – we don’t spin what the words mean later when those words turn out to be inconvenient. Spin rooms have no place in media and the fact that you suggest they should is troubling.

                People should be able to listen to elected officials and take them at their word. These might seem antiquated concepts to you, but that’s something for you to deal with.

                These are matters that directly relate to integrity and personal responsibility, concepts you appear divorced from. This goes back to being up front with people about your real name. Why else would you have to create a fake name than to obscure the truth?

                Rather than waste more time explaining the value of accountability, responsibility and integrity to someone as morally bankrupt as you make yourself out to be, I think I’m going to get back to work. If you’re comfortable with twisting words, hiding identities and obscuring the truth, well that’s your problem.

                Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

                • First,

                  Yes, words have meaning and power. THAT is why you have to pay attention to every single word. If the word IS NOT SAID, then no there is no implied support.

                  Seriously? Spin rooms have no place in the media? Seriously?

                  (and, for the record, now who is doing the insulting?)

            • Or if you prefer – why shouldn’t we expect to parse everything? (I mean, I’ll grant we shouldn’t necessarily have to, but to quote Anisley Hays, “it turns out there’s no Santa Claus and Elvis isn’t cutting breakfast anymore.”

  7. I am thinking that this will be corrected by the time they put passengers on the rocket….Certainly by the time it takes me off the planet on my way to MARS….No?

  8. Yes Aaron, seriously. After responding to your comments all day it’s surprising I didn’t say worst. For the record I’m a veteran & former LEO – I don’t mince words.

    I’m used to speaking with people who at least try to consider the opinions of others. After we had the posting issues (with others posting vulgar comments) a while back I was really pleased to see you take the high road and debating the facts. Why have you gone back to these tactics?

    There is this little course that I think a good many PR & journalism students in college have purged from their minds. Ethics. I strongly believe in ethics & accountability. So scoff all you like, while many don’t adhere to these guidelines anymore – I do.

    Aaron, IMHO, one of the reasons this nation is in the state it’s in is that ethics & accountability have gone out the window. So, yes, we will hold space companies, be they ULA, SNC, SpaceX – whomever accountable.

    Sincerely and with regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

    • Jason,

      I suppose it isn’t surprising. Yes, I’ll grant, it was a snarky comment. But my thoughts/opinions about Americaspace have remained constant throughout the entire time I’ve posted here(again, based on history, and no, Jason, I consider more than a few pieces here as being overly opinionated, rather than reporting, although I have no doubt you believe otherwise).

      And the problem isn’t that I don’t consider the opinions of others. The problem is that I don’t fetishize the mythology of NASA and Space. But there are many who do. And that is incredibly detrimental to our future in space. And yes, I view more than a few of the pieces here as indicative of that.

      As for the posting of vulgar comments – I can’t recall an example of a posting where the ideas behind the comments are more likely representative of your thinking, but you edited them. But I know of at least one recent example in another thread where the comments are insulting towards someone, and they’ve not been edited. (see Karol’s comment on the Baumgartner opinion piece)

      As for ethics – you won’t like my view on it, because its not that I don’t believe in them, but I don’t agree that you are practicing them fairly. But I tend not to argue that point, because you have the ultimate power to ban me. (Again, it comes back to the issue of the mythology of NASA)

      As for accountability – I have no problem with that. But will you also hold NASA accountable? Mike Griffin?

      History says otherwise.

  9. Hey,
    Don’t we have to leave earth soon because of the Global Warming…er Climate Change….er Global Corruption….As such don’t have to expedite this process maybe cut a few corners….SpaceX is the only player in this market for the average citizen…..

  10. Hi Jason,

    At the risk of making Ferris more anguished here is another point:

    “The Dragon used on the CRS-1 mission, was loaded with approximately 1,995 lbs worth of cargo.”

    Actually the payload was 882 lbs the 1,995 lbs includes packaging (meaning that the packaging amounted to 55% of the total). Depending on whether you think the packaging should be considered part of the useful payload that makes the cost per lb of CRS-1 (using the 12 flights for $1, 6 Billion contract number) either $150,793/lb or $66,666/lb. Neither exactly a bargain (even assuming the Falcon 9 had not had a significant anomaly). See page 10 of link for details:

    Note also NASA is already starting to talk about how more slips in Space X schedule will not be a problem (due to the fact that the Shuttle left the ISS so well stocked.

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