Questions tagged [failure]

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

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20
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1answer
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 ...
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1answer
84 views

Maximum speed based on atmospheric altitude given maximum temp?

I saw the question Could escape velocity be achieved in the atmosphere? and thought it probably could've been asked better. I'm sure there's an equation to calculate the average heat generated by an ...
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time trends in astronaut fatality rates?

A recent answer quoted the statistic that over 10% of astronauts have died on the job That got me wondering what the trend over time has been in mortality rate of astronauts, i.e. is space travel ...
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1answer
996 views

Who put their spacesuit boots on the wrong feet?

Was just reading Mike Massimino's memoir Spaceman and came across this fascinating line: Another time a spacewalker - and this is a true story - accidentally put his right boot on his left foot ...
6
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1answer
725 views

Is this explanation for the SpaceX 1-Sept-2016 anomaly plausible?

Question: Is this explanation for the SpaceX 1-Sept-2016 anomaly plausible? Or most of it at least (sans LHe)? In the recent New Atlas article SpaceX fingers helium as cause of Falcon 9 rocket ...
17
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1answer
293 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 ...
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333 views

Are more details about the fatal rocket motor accident at Cape Canaveral in April 1964 available?

The 1966 book The Life and Death of a Satellite by Alfred Bester contains an account of a accidental ignition of a third-stage solid rocket motor in a Delta rocket spin test facility at the Cape which ...
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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?
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1answer
600 views

How often were Space Shuttle launches scrubbed?

Reading Mike Mullane's book, Riding Rockets, it seems like shuttle flights were scrubbed, more often than not, during countdown after the crew had boarded, due to some sort of systems failure or ...
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Where are the COPVs on Falcon 9's second stage?

Following the most recent Falcon 9 Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly, Elon Musk tweeted that "There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause." ...
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How do spacecraft measure their own charge?

The discussion in the NOAA legacy page Space Weather Prediction Center Topic Paper: Satellites and Space Weather (found here) lists: Types of Spacecraft Anomalies Spacecraft anomalies are ...
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1answer
127 views

What specific device failed, causing engine #4 in the Core Stage Green Run to report a Failure Identification?

(See this Q&A for context if needed: What is a "Major Component Failure" referred to in news reports about the unsuccessful Space Launch System core stage test firing?) In the post-test ...
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Missions failed before launch

The Falcon 9 - Amos-6 - mission in 3 September 2016 failed before launch - the rocket exploded during the static fire test. Some lists contain such missions but others don't - like for example ...
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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, ...
18
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
362 views

Why did Columbia disintegrate lower into the atmosphere, not during its peak heat phase?

Space Shuttle Columbia entered a period of peak heating at 46 mi (74 km) altitude. Before the contact got broken, the temperature on Columbia's wing leading-edges had sunk already (and the heat shield ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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1answer
100 views

Is there a website or database which lists launch vehicle accidents and reasons in detail?

Looking for online databases or printed compilations of launch vehicle accidents, mistakes done while fabricating rockets and preventive measure taken.
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Does the Proton-M have a launch termination system?

I was under the assumption that, in contrast to the oft-repeated "oh, those Russians", Protons actually do have launch termination systems which can be used to destroy the vehicle, akin to ...
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What are the “18 rescue missions” on Apollo 11, and which 10 of them did Michael Collins not feel comfortable with?

Regarding this tweet from the man himself. I take it to mean abort modes in some form or other for the entire mission? Perhaps just after LM descent? What are the 18 failure modes, and (if there's any ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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What (if anything) could have caused all three shuttle main engines to stop at the same time?

From my previous question, you'd have a bad time if it happened. What could cause it to happen, if anything? My parameters are: The engines must STOP, but not destroy the vehicle simply by having ...
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What happened during this shuttle simulation malfunction involving a failure of a shuttle arm joint while moving the JEF?

This author (cough) begins to relate the details of a particular training incident during simulations for STS-127. However, they very sadly have not finished the tale. Does anybody (cough cough) know ...
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What were the space shuttle’s emergency procedures for an SRB or ET separation failure?

The space shuttle, like most launch vehicles, was a multistage vehicle (albeit one where the various stages were mostly stuck to the sides of each other rather than being stacked vertically), reducing ...
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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?
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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)? ...
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How could aerodynamic forces break up the Challenger orbiter?

Wikipedia's explanation of the sequence of events: The O-ring failure caused a breach in the SRB joint it sealed, allowing pressurized hot gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the ...
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“LVLH” on Challenger's cockpit voice recording: What was that switch for?

Veteran astronaut and mission specialist Judy Resnick was tragically killed in the Challenger disaster. Her last recorded words aboard Challenger regarded scanning for "LVLH" (low-vertical/low-...
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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 ...
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Could Dick Scobee have flown a RTLS on Challenger 51L

In a previous question, I explored whether or not, with a call up from an observant Flight Controller, the SRB’s could be separated from the STS-51L stack before the destruction of the ET tank at 73 ...
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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, ...
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What, if any, abort options would the crew of Columbia had on reentry during STS-107, assuming they became aware of the damage during that phase? [duplicate]

According to Wikipedia, the earliest time at which there was a known issue with Columbia's reentry was at 08:53:46, when "Various people on the ground saw signs of debris being shed". Approximately 7 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
855 views

Was Columbia’s CVR ever found?

Each of the space shuttles carried a cockpit voice recorder (CVR), similar to those required on commercial airliners, which recorded the crew’s conversations to aid in accident reconstruction should a ...
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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 ...
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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....
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About how far was debris scattered from the Columbia incident?

Space Shuttle Columbia exploded during reentry due to missing heat shield tiles. When this happened, the shuttle would have had a great amount of speed, which would imply debris was strewn far down ...
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1answer
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Could DOD earth observation (i.e. spy) satellites have photographed the Columbia Orbiter on STS-107?

I read in an (unknown) aircraft accident investigation book that NASA engineers wanted to use DOD earth observation satellites to check for damage on the Columbia Orbiter during STS-107. This did not ...
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Looking for a document that describes SSME test failures

At some point in the last 5 years I put together this matrix of Space Shuttle Main Engine test failures. The last 6 columns are documents which describe some of the incidents in more or less detail. ...
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1answer
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Why do RS-68s suffer ignition failures?

NROL-44 failed to be in space for yet one more night last night, this time because of an automated hotfire abort triggered when one of the outboard (iirc) engines on the Delta IV Heavy failed to ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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Has a probe ever been lost due to folding its antenna, making it unable to communicate?

I remember hearing the story of a probe on the surface of a planet (maybe Venus) that was lost due to an incredible design flaw, and I'm looking for more details. The probe had a dish antenna, and ...
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1answer
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What are the questions and issues related to Kosmos 482's configuration and eventual reentry?

The Space.com article Failed 1970s Venus Probe Could Crash to Earth This Year describes Kosmos 482 (1972-023A, 5919), a 1972 Soviet Venus lander spacecraft that got stuck in LEO instead. Since the ...
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Are there examples of errors caused by the use of two English units?

The Mars Climate Orbiter was infamously lost because of software which used metric units in some places and U.S. Customary units in other places, without conversion factors. The incident is discussed ...
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How does “space weather” cause reaction wheel failure?

Failure of reaction wheels often causes premature mission ending or failure to achieve the goal because spacecrafts are no longer able to maintain orientation and have to rely on chemical propellants. ...
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Details on the single points of failure in the JWST?

This report to congress says: Finally, nine of the 50 risks currently tracked by the project are related to the more than 300 single points of failure aboard the observatory Being a report for ...
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1answer
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Will Ariane 5 ECA have LES for the launch of JWST?

Ariane 5 rocket is contracted to launch JWST. This rocket has approximately one failure out of every fifty launches (excluding minor failure). JWST has already taken many years and it is next ...
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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 ...
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What is the farthest distance a failed rocket has landed from its launch site?

What is the greatest distance from its launch site that a failed rocket (or its debris) has landed? Failures only. This excludes surface-to-surface or surface-to-air missiles, which are intended to ...