Questions tagged [failure]

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

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-5 votes
2 answers
185 views

How do we know Starship 28 was lost?

As I see it, they lost communications, and almost immediately called it a loss. This seems odd. Surely a blackout is expected due to the plasma?
0 votes
0 answers
132 views

Was Starship 28 equipped with a "black box" designed to enable the recovery of flight data after a RUD during reentry?

Other terms used to describe a "black box" include Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), MADS (Modular Auxiliary Data System), and OEX (Orbiter EXperiments) recorder. ...
3 votes
1 answer
302 views

Would the steel frame/skin of Starship be able to endure loss of a heat shield tile during reentry?

STS-27 was able survive reentry without a tile because the was over a metal component with sufficient thermal inertia to serve as a heat sink without melting. Would the steel frame of Starship be able ...
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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
180 views

What is the oxygen filter on Super Heavy, and how could it get blocked on IFT-3?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_Starship_integrated_flight_test_2 On February 26, 2024, SpaceX stated that the most likely root cause was filter blockage where liquid oxygen is supplied to the ...
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Could Soyuz spacecraft have saved the Columbia crew?

For the sake of the question, let's assume the STS-107 crew realizes in orbit that the heat shield is too damaged for reentry, but they realize it too late for shuttle Atlantis to rescue them in time. ...
0 votes
0 answers
161 views

How often in NASA history was "Houston, we have a problem" or deviations actually said?

The phrase "Houston, we've had a problem" was said by Jim Lovell after the oxygen tank blew up during Apollo 13, and in the movie Tom Hanks playing Jim Lovell said "Houston, we have a ...
0 votes
0 answers
64 views

How many U.S. launch vehicles have failed on initial launch? [duplicate]

I'm doing some research about U.S. launch vehicle failures, and particularly failures occurring during the first vehicle launch. I'm trying to get some data about how frequently failures like this ...
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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
135 views

How will Philae's power failure affect Rosetta's mission?

With Philae dead on the comet, how will Rosetta's mission change? Obviously there isn't anything more that the lander can do, so Rosetta doesn't have to use its time and resources trying to wake it up....
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Why was Booster 9's 29 engine static fire ended 2.36 seconds early? [duplicate]

Suggested by Darth Pseudonym in answer to my other similar question. Recently (August 7), Booster 9 conducted a static fire test where it shutdown after only 2.74 of the planned 5 seconds of burn ...
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why were 4 engines shutdown prematurely during Booster 9's static fire?

Recently (August 7), Booster 9 conducted a static fire test where it only ignited 29 of 33 engines. This is the big static fire, there not another one. I have found that they were shutdown prematurely ...
6 votes
0 answers
236 views

How do spacecraft protect their engines from micrometeroids?

A meteoroid impact on an engine bell can easily rupture a coolant pipe. Or it can create an imperfection in the backing plate from where cracks can form. Or it can destroy an injector. All of these ...
2 votes
1 answer
138 views

Accidents where discarded stages are propelled by vaporized propellant?

Falcon 1 flight 3 failed when propellant vaporized in the detached first stage's engine, causing it to slam into the second stage. Has this happened to any other launch vehicle? Do launch vehicles ...
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Rocket Engine Failure Rate

I am a reciprocating engine machinist and understand that rocket engines are much much more complex. But I am curious why they have such a high failure rate. Even modern rockets are designed to ...
5 votes
1 answer
270 views

Why did the June 2016 SpaceX launch run out of propellant?

In other words, what caused SpaceX to miscalculate the amount of propellant required to safely land the booster. They had landed successfully on the drone ship in April. So what went wrong here? What ...
4 votes
1 answer
149 views

What if Soyuz re-entered with orbital module attached?

Soyuz 5 and Soyuz TMA-11 survived reentry with an attached Service Module, which simply burned off. There have been no accidents where the Orbital Module has remained attached. What would be the ...
5 votes
1 answer
415 views

Was the exhaust cloud at the Starship launch mostly pulverized launchpad?

The launch of Spacex Starship on April 20 2023 looked pretty normal on first sight, apart from some engines not running, and some concrete flying around. The huge exhaust cloud looked normal, because ...
7 votes
1 answer
230 views

SpaceX Super Heavy booster: Is it publicly known whether the failure of one engine to start prior to liftoff will result in a pad abort?

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, tweeted minutes later that engineers turned off one of the booster’s 33 engines just before ignition, and another engine “stopped itself.” “So 31 engines fired ...
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 ...
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 "...
10 votes
1 answer
3k views

Does a fully loaded Starship really have a thrust to weight ratio less than 1 at sea level?

If Superheavy fails during launch (or even fails to launch in an unsafe way) the Starship itself might well be able to just light its engines and fly a suitable suborbital trajectory https://space....
3 votes
2 answers
368 views

When lower stages explode, can upper stages just fire and escape?

If Superheavy fails during launch (or even fails to launch in an unsafe way) the Starship itself might well be able to just light its engines and fly a suitable suborbital trajectory to a safe landing ...
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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
332 views

Why didn't SpaceX scrub the 4/20 Starship launch when they saw the launch pad being shredded?

While Starship took to the skies on its maiden flight, the slow build of power started to devastate the launch pad (or Stage Zero as SpaceX refers to it) and surrounding area with debris. Though ...
1 vote
1 answer
511 views

Why was the launchpad not destroyed during Super Heavy test firings?

It's becoming clear now that the 4/20 launch devastated the launchpad, leaving a massive crater and flinging debris - perhaps into the booster itself. But why did this not happen during test firings ...
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is there a "procedural shift" meaning to the statement "we have cleared the tower"

I am very new to space exploration by humans (was always much more interested in astronomy) and have just begun looking at rocket launches in the 1960s because my little four year old is interested in ...
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did the April 20 explosion invalidate the Starship launch license?

I had heard that the reason Starship launch was being delayed was because they were doing an environmental impact assessment. During the April 17 NASASpaceflight coverage , it was stated that this was ...
4 votes
1 answer
566 views

Which STS mission had the most accidents or failures?

This question was prompted by articles mentioning that a majority of Space Shuttle launches had scrubbed launches. Which STS mission had the largest amount of accidents and/or failures? If relevant, ...
1 vote
0 answers
78 views

What if satellites could be recovered during a launch failure? [duplicate]

How heavy would a capsule have to be to return a satellite safely to earth in the event of a launch failure? Would a satellite survive the loads endured by astronauts during an abort? If not, is there ...
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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why did the Firefly Alpha launch in September 2021 fail?

On 2 September 2021, the Firefly Alpha launch had an explosion. The reason does not appear to be available on the web. Even Firefly Space's website does not give any information as to the cause. So, ...
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could Perseverance survive if Ingenuity failed?

They both landed successfully and ingenuity was deployed. Perseverance drove away, and then Ingenuity failed. Could Perseverance survive on its own?
0 votes
1 answer
164 views

Why didn't Electron's first stage go "There and Back Again"?

During the "There and Back Again" mission, it seems to have been caught around the 52:45 mark. Then it also seems like the helicopter dropped it. Was this intentional? If so, why? It seems ...
5 votes
3 answers
837 views

How can the elements involved in loading a LOX tank be involved in an explosion?

Since SpaceX has isolated the AMOS-6 Falcon 9 pad explosion to the upper stage LOX tank during fueling, it seems useful to consider in general terms what was happening at the time and what materials ...
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

How close was the ISS to running out of supplies after the failure of CRS-7?

2014-2015 probably was a scary time to be aboard the ISS, though not for the usual reasons. They were worried about supplies running low, at least somewhat. There was quite the string of bad luck. ...
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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Could Ingenuity survive if Perseverance failed?

For the purposes of this question, we will assume that they both landed successfully. Ingenuity was deployed properly. Then, Perseverance drove away, and then Perserverance say hit a large rock and ...
0 votes
1 answer
141 views

What caused the falcon booster landing failure during the CRS-16 mission?

On December 5, 2018 the Falcon 9 booster started spinning during the landing burn, and promptly appears to have soft landed on the ocean. While SpaceX stated that the booster could be reused it never ...
1 vote
1 answer
218 views

Why did the Virgin One launch fail?

What caused the early shutdown of Virgin rocket's upper stage? The previous failure was also due to early shutdown of engine, although that was first stage failure. As per reports available in public, ...
-1 votes
1 answer
127 views

Why did the maiden flight of H3 fail?

Recently, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) finally launched the ALOS-3 (Advanced Land Observing Satellite-3) after more than 2 years of delay. On then all seemed to be going well on the first ...
-1 votes
1 answer
392 views

What happens if the range control fails?

Your rocket was launching. Something went wrong. It is outside of the safety corridor. The range control attempts to terminate the flight, but the Flight Termination System (FTS) fails. Now what ...
1 vote
1 answer
192 views

Moon landing with ion thrusters

In Kerbal space program I built a mini cubesat (similar to NASA’s lunar flashlight probe) and managed to land on the moon only using ion thrusters. However, it was risky because it took a few tries. ...
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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
494 views

What was the Lockheed design solution for the shuttle SRB field joint and how was it superior to the failure prone Morton Thiokol field joint?

In an effort to quickly post this question I've elected to (for the moment) not provide links to my searches. I've found tons of references, studies, reports, images etc to the failed Thiokol field ...
0 votes
3 answers
307 views

If Artemis 1 fails, will it be the end of the program?

The Artemis 1 flight was meant to happen years ago. The program is really expensive and the SLS is not reusable. Other companies like SpaceX or Blue Origin are doing things in a much cheaper and ...
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Which regulatory agency (if any) is in charge of investigating civilian rocket anomalies?

Yesterday Blue Origin's New Shephard had an anomaly during launch. Happens around 1:22:58 in this video The accident happened around 29,000ft and the capsule fired its ...
3 votes
2 answers
160 views

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. ...
11 votes
1 answer
294 views

After nine years on Mars, has anything on Curiosity broken yet?

As per Wikipedia's Curiosity (rover), it landed nine years ago today at 6 August 2012, 05:17:57 UTC. This is yet another testament to NASA spacecraft reliability. Since landing, has anything actually ...
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....

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