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Rocket problem dents image of launch success

floating.jpgA parachute failure has left a serious dent in part of the Ares 1-X rocket that NASA test fired on Wednesday.

Although NASA announced the launch as a success, it seems one of three parachutes meant to ensure a stage of the booster rocket drifted slowly back down failed. Although the chute deployed correctly, it later deflated.

“At this point, we don’t know why,” says NASA spokeswoman Jennifer Morcone (Florida Today). “We’ll recover the booster and the hardware and then figure out what went wrong on deployment.”

Divers who recovered the rocket stage took impressive photos of a seriously large dent. They are meant to deliver the stage to NASA today, where analysis of what went wrong will begin.

“So until that point, everything is probably speculation,” says shuttle integration manager Mike Moses (Space.com).

The launch was also slightly marred by the fact that the dummy upper stage of the rocket tumbled rather than continuing gracefully nose first (CNET, WAFF).

Image: United Space Alliance

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    Uncle Al said:

    What is the amortized cost of lost net payload, retrieval, and refurbishment versus use once and toss fabrication of a less massive stage?

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