News Soyuz launch failure

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by arch101, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. arch101

    arch101 Commodore Commodore

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    Wow- anyone catch today’s launch failure out of Baikonur? I love how the press is liberally using words like “ballistic “ and “breakup” to spice up the story. Seems like the launch abort system worked exactly as designed and the crew were in comparitavely little danger. (Of fourse, there’s always a danger in spaceflight). The Soyuz’s record is pretty stout considering how long it’s been flying.
     
  2. Janeway_74656

    Janeway_74656 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I saw that! I know these things happen in spaceflight, but I thought it was pretty shocking. I'm just glad they made it out okay.
     
  3. Gory Sever

    Gory Sever Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd heard about it but hadn't quite understood when the failure occurred. Found a video that captures it:

    This starts with them boarding the spacecraft and then into the launch with some gaps. Advance to 3:41 to the point in flight just before the escape tower jettisons the capsule. So it was only 2 minutes after launch that a booster error occurred, sending the craft off course. The video shows some breakup in the transmission but it looks like the occupants of the capsule were getting buffeted around (not sure if part of that was the escape tower in action or a rough ride from the faulty booster). Such a great demonstration of the fail-safe mechanism doing its job.

    What's a little unnerving is the timing.

    The narration was following a timed script. "Escape tower jettisoned" would have meant the escape tower was no longer on top of the rocket. And that means the capsule would no longer have any means of escape. So it sounds like the escape tower was ignited in less than 30 seconds prior to the detection of trouble. I mean just think of it... if they jettisoned the escape tower and THEN detected the booster problem... they'd be in mortal danger.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  4. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, they wouldn't - I'll let Scott Manley explain.
     
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  5. Gory Sever

    Gory Sever Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Fascinating. Thanks for the video link, @Asbo Zaprudder. Had no idea about the Soyuz launch abort system and it's an interesting design, especially with the dual sets of rockets (tower and shroud).
     
  6. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wonder what their thinking was with the seperate orbit and descent modules verus the American Command modules which performed both functions and allowed for a simpler escape system.
     
  7. Santaman

    Santaman Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting link Asbo, the Soyuz is kinda like the T-34 of spacecraft..
     
  8. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Good design let down by poor manufacturing?
     
  9. Gory Sever

    Gory Sever Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Probably more about specialization and fuel types. For descent, the imperative for the Soviets was to avoid toxic fuels, in case of ingress into the cabin. So the descent module uses a peroxide based fuel. The only trouble with that, is the fuel has a shorter lifespan. If you wait too long, you end up with water and oxygen that is no longer useful. I prefer the philosophy of making a better capsule with a cabin that is perfectly insulated from the fuel system. It works very well. There was only one case of ingress, which was on an older design. And it created only a momentary issue for the human occupants.
     
  10. Santaman

    Santaman Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Soviet designs are usually overdesigned, heavy and built to be maintained by simple tools, there's a story about an Aeroflot aircraft being delayed, the pilot told the passengers there was a fan blade at the front of the engine which was a little crooked, in the west this means the aircraft will be sent to maintenance and you need another aircraft to haul the passengers, not in the USSR, a mechanic walked towards the engine which, climbed into the engine housing, found the crooked blade and whacked it back into shape with a large hammer, he hopped out of the engine, gave a thumbs up and walked off, the pilot then started that engine, gave it full throttle for a few seconds, seemed to be pleased and just flew off without a hitch.. :biggrin:

    I think this accident was a fluke, there have been so many of them used over there years and only a few incidents, I think it is doing quite well..
     
  11. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A small reentry module minimises the mass required for heat shielding and the parachute system. The orbital module can be relatively large as it doesn't have to reenter so the total habitable volume of 7.5 cubic metres is larger than the Apollo command module's 6.2 cubic metres. The total mass of the Soyuz reentry and orbital modules is 4.3 tonnes compared to the 5.8 tonne mass of the Apollo command module so the service module has less mass that it needs to accelerate during orbital manoeuvres.
     
  12. XCV330

    XCV330 Commodore Commodore

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    Possibly, but they have had some quality control issues of late. The failures of Proton have almost cancelled it. They flew fewer Proton launch vehicles this year, their commercial workhorse, than any time since the mid 60's. Their designs are sound and they can no doubt figure what caused it and put in methods to prevent it.

    The very good thing is, no one was killed and the abort sequence worked. The bad thing is, at some point the remaining three crew aboard ISS are going to have to come down, and if Soyuz is significantly delayed the station will have to be abandoned for the first time in almost 2 decades, which would be a shame. Dragon and Starliner aren't quite ready to handle crew rotation duties yet. This probably could not have happened at worse time.