Questions tagged [failure]

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

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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 ...
Gil's user avatar
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1 answer
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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 ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
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 ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
234 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 ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
135 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 ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
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 ...
still_learning's user avatar
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 ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
366 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 ...
Volker Siegel'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
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10 votes
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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....
Abdullah is not an Amalekite'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
1 vote
2 answers
326 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 ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
502 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 ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
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
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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 ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
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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 ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
363 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 ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
211 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 ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
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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
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Why did the May 2016 Falcon 9 launch have a radar glitch?

Looking at a chronicle of booster landing failures, in May 2016 the landing legs appear to have had a radar glitch. This then damaged them. So, my question is why did this happen?
Starship - On Strike'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
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12 votes
1 answer
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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. ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
160 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 ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
129 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 ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
265 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 ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
-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 ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
386 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 ...
Blue Skin and Glowing Red Eyes'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
1 vote
1 answer
191 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. ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
217 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, ...
Shubham Srivastava's user avatar
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
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4 votes
1 answer
559 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, ...
Speedphoenix's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
447 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 ...
BradV's user avatar
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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 ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
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 ...
Machavity's user avatar
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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?
user avatar
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 ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
157 views

Why did the "Running out of Toes" mission fail?

On May 15, 2021, Rocket Lab's Electron failed in the "Running Out of Toes" mission. The first stage had a nominal flight. Then, from looking at the launch video published by Rocket Lab, the ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
196 views

Why did the Hyperbola-1 launch fail in February 2021?

There is no launch video and very little data published about the launch. Considering how the maiden flight was successful, and it does appear that they made any design changes, what went wrong? Why ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
227 views

Why did the recent Elana41 mission fail?

On February 10, 2022, the Astra LV0008 rocket failed mid-flight, shortly after stage separation. It appeared to ignite and then shut off repeatedly, while also spinning out of control. Do we know what ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
274 views

What if both SRBs failed in a shuttle launch?

I'm certain there are several flight regimes where this could happen, and that the procedures should be different for each one. For instance, this is a very different question before lift off than it ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did pages of Ramon's diary survive the Columbia disaster?

In early 2003, the space shuttle Columbia burnt up due to a failed leading edge on the wing from an external tank foam strike. All seven astronauts were killed. Yet, some pages of Ilan Ramon's diary, ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
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, ...
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
65 views

Oxygen Generation System

Is there any possible failure that OGS (oxygen generation system which ISS has) can overproduce oxygen in a spaceship? Just wondering the possibility how can spaceship explode by themselves without ...
Probe HOSOMICHI's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
304 views

What systems onboard the JWST are redundant and which are not?

Examining the capabilities of the JWST I figured that a lot of systems, e.g. the rotation wheels are redundant in order to avoid/reduce risks of failure. Right now as I write this the Gimbaled Antenna ...
Gewure's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
937 views

How would a repair of the JWST proceed if it were ordered regardless of the cost and technical hurdles, depending on when/how it fails? [closed]

I have heard people speaking about how, unlike Hubble, the James Webb Space Telescope is "one of a kind", "not designed to be repaired", "not serviceable", and the like, ...
Grant Hartlage's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
604 views

What happens if Ariane V actually fails while launching JWST?

Obviously, I don't expect this. But I was thinking about it, and the importance, uniqueness, and irreplaceability of this payload is almost (?) unprecedented, especially for a transnational project. I ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
171 views

Would deorbiting a crippled Apollo spacecraft using the Saturn V third stage have been a reasonable contingency?

In the event of the loss of all fuel cells in an Apollo mission, would reaching orbit with the third stage, then using the relight to de-orbit somewhat near the normal location in the pacific be a ...
Joshua's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
898 views

Hard (15mph) landing, no retrorockets fired?

Today’s (12-11-21) Blue Origin New Shepard crew landing looked to be at full 15mph with no evidence of retro rockets firing or slowing of the capsule. Did they fire?
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