Questions tagged [failure]

Questions regarding missions or parts of missions which were not successful.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
76 votes
3 answers
55k views

Was the NOAA-N Prime satellite really dropped on the floor?

Recently, Donald.McLean posted this image in The Pod Bay, the site chat room: It's a rather disturbing image once you think about it for more than about half a second. Did it really happen? What ...
user avatar
62 votes
1 answer
12k views

Was there a backup plan in case the Shuttle toilet malfunctioned?

What was the plan in case the Space Shuttle toilet malfunctioned? How were the astronauts expected to then handle their waste? Did they carry Apollo-style fecal collection assemblies (poop bags)? ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 47.9k
52 votes
3 answers
7k views

What would NASA have done if they knew Columbia was catastrophically damaged?

When the Columbia Shuttle broke apart in 2003, it was known after the launch that a piece of foam had fallen and hit the Shuttle. NASA apparently chose not to investigate it as well as they could have....
duzzy's user avatar
  • 7,164
44 votes
4 answers
15k views

During the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster of 2003, Why Did The Flight Director Say, "Lock the doors."?

Why does the NASA Flight Director say, "Lock the doors.", when realizing that disaster had struck for Space Shuttle Columbia, back in 2003? Does he mean lock the doors on the space shuttle that's ...
user avatar
39 votes
4 answers
16k views

Why didn't the Space Shuttle have a launch escape system?

Since the very beginning of space exploration, rockets had some sort of Launch Escape System (LES). From this Wikipedia article, we know that Mercury and Apollo had an escape tower, while Vostok and ...
user avatar
36 votes
3 answers
5k views

Do rockets, launch vehicles or spacecraft contain a black-box?

Like aeroplanes, do rockets also contains some black-box kind of thing to see what went wrong at the time of failure?
Amar's user avatar
  • 2,256
36 votes
3 answers
4k views

Have any satellites been lost or damaged on their way to the launch site (ground/sea transport)?

On our sister site Travel Stack Exchange, someone asked about carrying a cubesat on a plane in hand luggage and is worried about damage or loss (or not being allowed on the plane). Several answers ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 11.6k
35 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why was AMOS-6 mounted on the rocket for a test fire?

I understand that the static test is a general test of pre-launch procedures, but risking a multi-million dollar payload for a test seems remarkable. Couldn't they use a mass simulator or something? ...
Abacus Lever's user avatar
33 votes
4 answers
6k views

Will the Falcon Heavy be far enough in 12 seconds to not cause damage?

Elon Musk has stated that he will consider it a success if the Falcon Heavy gets far enough away from the launch pad to not cause damage if it blows up. The Falcon Heavy underwent a 12 second static ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
31 votes
1 answer
43k views

What does 'Switch SCE to AUX' mean?

During the launch of Apollo 12 a major malfunction was caused by 2 lightning strikes. See http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2013/02/apollo-12-struck-by-lightning.html for more info. The solution ...
OrangePeel52's user avatar
  • 2,571
31 votes
4 answers
3k views

Has Max-Q historically been a common failure point in rocket launches?

I believe that it's common knowledge that Max-Q is the point in which a rocket is undergoing the maximum dynamic stress during a launch and ascent. But, how often have rockets actually been destroyed ...
Milwrdfan's user avatar
  • 2,788
29 votes
3 answers
4k views

Challenger disaster: how full was the external tank at the time of destruction?

We have all heard about the Challenger disaster. Reading the Vehicle breakup subsection, this sentence made me very curious: The external tank at this point suffered a complete structural failure, ...
le_daim's user avatar
  • 2,060
27 votes
2 answers
6k views

Will the James Webb Space Telescope be insured against launch failure?

Most commercial satellites are insured in case something bad happens on launch. Although the Ariane 5 is a fairly reliable rocket, a launch failure is not out of the question. While other questions ...
Rob Rose's user avatar
  • 369
26 votes
2 answers
3k views

What were the most impactful non-fatal failures on STS missions?

Which failures on STS missions were the most impactful? Please exclude the o-ring issue on STS-51-L, as well as the tile damage caused by insulative ET foam on STS-107. Unrelated failures that ...
Speedphoenix's user avatar
  • 5,324
26 votes
1 answer
4k views

Do all launches include self-destruct mechanisms?

Do all launches involve self-destruct mechanisms? How do they usually work? Is it just the boosters that are required to self-destruct? In the case of the space shuttle, how about the external tank? ...
coleopterist's user avatar
  • 6,043
25 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is a "Major Component Failure" referred to in news reports about the unsuccessful Space Launch System core stage test firing?

In reporting about the unsuccessful green run of the SLS core stage, Ars Technica mentions About 50 seconds into what was supposed to be an 8-minute test firing, the flight control center called out, ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did the designers of Voyager neglect the angular momentum of the tape recorders?

I have heard many times that the designers of the Voyager spacecraft neglected to account for the angular momentum of the tape recorders (on which data was stored). To compensate for it after launch, ...
Chris Mueller's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
3k views

Has the cause of a rocket failure ever been mis-identified, such that another launch failed due to the same problem?

When a rocket launch fails, typically launches for that rocket type are halted while an investigation takes place to identify and correct the root cause of the failure. However, it is possible that ...
kgutwin's user avatar
  • 1,566
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

What happened to the Apollo 1 rocket?

On January 27, 1967, a tragic fire killed the crew of Apollo 1 and destroyed the Command Module. I've read detailed reports about the engineering team that disassembled the Command Module. I haven't ...
Andrew Breza's user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

What was the most inconsequential failure on an STS mission recorded in mission reports?

Posting a comment over on this question got me thinking as to how insignificant (or not) recorded failures on the Space Shuttle could actually get. For example browsing the STS-001 Postflight Mission ...
Speedphoenix's user avatar
  • 5,324
21 votes
3 answers
4k views

How hard is it on the crew to go through the 14+ g's of a launchpad abort of the Soyuz, or the Falcon system?

It's only for 5 seconds, but that is an awful lot of force. The Falcon system is similar and presumably also involves very high-g forces. Could injury result from the abort itself in either case?
kim holder's user avatar
  • 21.3k
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

Challenger hypothetical - what if the SRB breach faced outboard?

Slightly different Challenger question - what could have happened if the SRB breach had faced outboard, away from any attachment fittings or the ET? Would the SRB have failed completely prior to ...
John Bode's user avatar
  • 2,300
21 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why did a flight controller say "Avionics power nominal" as Antares exploded?

The Antares rocket carrying Cygnus just exploded. A video is available here, explosion at around 4:19. In the video, right as the rocket begins to slide down and explode, a flight controller says "...
user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
1k views

What exactly causes stranded upper stages to explode?

Usually if an upper stage experiences a failure before it can "passivate" itself (empty tanks, drain batteries, etc.), it's only a matter of time before it explodes. For recent examples, see any of ...
user avatar
20 votes
6 answers
1k views

Why don't unmanned launch vehicles include launch escape system for payload?

Mention of Launch Escape System (LES) brings to mind images of the crew on board a spacecraft ejecting at launch; the crew being the most valuable cargo on board. Launch vehicles may also be unmanned,...
Everyone's user avatar
  • 13.6k
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are the "Big 13" critical contingency spacewalks on the ISS? Have any actually been performed?

There is a list of Critical Contingency items on the US side of the International Space Station called the "Big 13". The failure of any of these items would force an unscheduled spacewalk ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
19 votes
6 answers
7k views

Is the failure to separate Starship from the Super Heavy booster a "dumb failure" and does it tell something about the project reliability? [duplicate]

Sorry for the possibly dumb question, but I don't know much about rocket technology. As I gather, the main problem in the recently failed Elon Musk's Starship launch was that the Starship "...
LorenzoDonati4Ukraine-OnStrike's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
3k views

How did STS-27 survive reentry after losing a thermal tile?

My buddies and I have been arguing about this for a while, speculating about the upcoming Starship test. STS-27 suffered damage on ascent that knocked off a tile & damaged hundreds more. It only ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
  • 10.7k
19 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is the F9-029 Amos 6 case more complex than the F9-020 CRS-7 explosion?

In the F9-029 Amos 6 mission failure at the launch pad, a "fast fire" happened near the 2nd stage of Falcon 9 FT. In F9-020 CRS-7 mission, an explosion happened in flight (again in the 2nd stage) a ...
Mark777's user avatar
  • 2,145
19 votes
1 answer
730 views

How easy would opening an Apollo capsule following dry landing be?

To help frame the problem, I have written the following scenario: It's December 19, 1972 and the Apollo 17 has returned to Earth, but something went wrong and they landed in the middle of the Outback....
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
19 votes
1 answer
5k views

What would have happened if only one Space Shuttle SRB ignited?

The ignite command for the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) would not be issued unless all three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) were at least 90% of thrust. The launch would have been aborted if one or ...
poke's user avatar
  • 291
18 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is SpaceX the only launch service provider who can attempt another launch the next day after a scrub?

Is SpaceX really the only launch service provider, who can attempt another launch the very next day after a scrub? While other providers may need weeks of preparations before another try. If that is ...
James C's user avatar
  • 1,931
18 votes
6 answers
7k views

Why was Space X's Starship blown up?

I understand that thousands of small rocket fragments will cause less damage when they fall than an intact rocket. But at the time Starship was detonated, I believe it was over the ocean, and not ...
Ryan_L's user avatar
  • 1,042
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did the attitude system of the uncrewed Soyuz 7K-OK No.1 fail on the launch pad in 1966, killing ground staff as LES was activated?

Wikipedia has a stub article on the loss of the Soyuz 7K-OK No.1 test flight in 1966-12-14, but this part doesn't make sense to me: However, once the Soyuz rocket's engines ignited, they did not ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
5k views

Have any astronauts/cosmonauts died in space?

After some casual reading around on the internet I got to the accidents that have occurred over the years in space exploration. I got to wondering that while I know that astronauts have died during ...
Tom Sol's user avatar
  • 482
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Was the LES used in the MS-10 abort?

I can find no clear information regarding the use of the launch escape system in today's Soyoz MS-10 abort-to-ground. The failure seems to occur just as LES jettison is scheduled to take place. The ...
dotancohen's user avatar
  • 6,734
17 votes
2 answers
35k views

What is the success/failure ratio of space bound rockets?

There are thousands of satellites orbitting our planet and everyone of them got there from a rocket launch. I know that when a launch fails it is practically always a catastrophic failure, otherwise ...
Octopus's user avatar
  • 1,132
17 votes
1 answer
3k views

Was a method available to save the Challenger Crew?

In a previous thread, I asked the question of the likelihood of the STS stack surviving an early separation of the SRB using the SRB manual separation switch on panel C3: Could the SRB's have ...
Challenger Truth's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
344 views

When have secondary payloads damaged the primary payload of a launcher?

Primary payload customers have traditionally been cautious when allowing secondary payloads on the same launcher. For example, a secondary payload is not trusted to have its own chemical propulsion ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
633 views

What are some practices of space exploration that are no longer acceptable?

I'm sure that for every good idea that made it into a spaceship design, there had to be plenty of bad ideas. There's most likely a bunch of old designs (or practices) that passed previously, but would ...
Magic Octopus Urn's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

How much of Dragon might have survived the explosion of CRS-7 and for how long?

At June 28th 2015, the SpaceX flight CRS-7 failed when the Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket exploded minutes after liftoff. Shotwell said twice during the press conference that Dragon capsule was transmitting ...
Jerard Puckett's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

How does an array of concrete pillars protect a launch control bunker?

This answer explains that this regular grid of concrete posts at Baikonur LC-1 Gagarin's Start is designed to reduce damage to the launch control bunker beneath it in the event of a catastrophic ...
Jack's user avatar
  • 9,976
16 votes
1 answer
804 views

Historically, how risky are first launches of new rockets?

Apropos of the Falcon Heavy test flight scheduled for February 6, 2018, what is the failure rate of first launches of new orbital rocket designs? How has this rate changed over time since the 1950s? ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why did only 31 engines ignite during Starship's static fire?

What could be the reasons behind only 31 engines of the planned 33 engines igniting during Starship's recent static fire, given that the spacecraft is designed to have 33 engines and how could this ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Was the possibility of damage to the SS Columbia made public before it reentered on Feb 1, 2003?

When I reflect upon the unfortunate circumstance of STS-107 in 2003, I seem to have memories of hearing reports of the foam striking the underside of the vehicle before we even learned of the reentry ...
Octopus's user avatar
  • 1,132
15 votes
2 answers
981 views

How does one build software for a Satellite such that a new build doesn't break it?

Sometimes, despite all ground testing, a new build of software can break a satellite. How does one put in protections to keep this failure from being a permanent failure? For example, what do you do ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
15 votes
2 answers
579 views

How did the Mir crew recover from the power outage following collision with Progress 34?

There are several accounts about how and why the collision between Mir and Progress 34 happened and that it ended in Mir being completely dark and silent: "'For the first time I experienced a ...
Pavel's user avatar
  • 413
15 votes
1 answer
641 views

Is there an explanation for repeating Soyuz accidents involving misfiring of explosive bolts?

In the Soyuz program, quite a few accidents have been caused by malfunctions of the explosive bolts: Soyuz 11: Explosive bolts designed to fire sequentially fired simultaneously instead, causing a ...
oefe's user avatar
  • 2,129
14 votes
4 answers
4k views

Do the SpaceX Falcon-9 rockets use foam insulation similar to the Space Shuttle? Is it still a potential problem?

The Space Shuttle used polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foams for insulation. A chunk of foam breaking off during launch resulted in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Do all chemically-fueled ...
Kurt Hikes's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Has any spacecraft had a way for the crew to escape during reentry?

All manned spacecraft to date have come back to Earth eventually, and when they do it's through a flaming ball of plasma. It seems too probable that this plasma would have a way of breaking things ...
user avatar

1
2 3 4 5