Questions tagged [failure]

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

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4
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1answer
1k views

What is the advantage of doing a static test fire before launch?

Continuing the series of questions (part 1, part 2) inspired by the recent loss of the AMOS-6 satellite during a static test fire, here's one thing that puzzles me a bit: What kinds of problems is a ...
8
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3answers
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How vulnerable could space launch vehicles be to a “lone gunman”?

As the saying goes - space is hard. Rockets are a collection of extremes in temperature, pressure, and energy packed as closely as possible and driven to their limits. Even in 2016 they still ...
35
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3answers
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? ...
28
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1answer
33k 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 ...
7
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1answer
623 views

What rocket launch protocols (if any) are in place to prevent premature or late intentional self-destruct?

There's a few related questions about rocket self-destruct mechanisms here already, e.g.: How are self-destructs implemented in rocketry? (covers how they work) Do all launches include self-destruct ...
3
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1answer
170 views

Summary of events and issues leading to the loss of Hitomi?

Hitomi was an Astrophysics science satellite in LEO with four X-ray telescopes, for imaging and spectroscopy of soft and hard X-rays. A paper based on some of the data collected during it's short ...
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121 views

Which communications satellite “fell down?” [duplicate]

I remember reading about an accident where a big, expensive communications satellite actually fell off it's mount and landed on the floor of the room where it was undergoing final assembly and ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Could the Shuttle boosters crash into each other?

I watched a few videos "from the boosters" of their suborbital flight with the Shuttle, and what I noticed is that after the boosters were jettisoned there was a phase of flight that was quite chaotic ...
10
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2answers
998 views

What was the death toll of the Nedelin catastrophe?

There are some conflicting accounts on the Nedelin catastrophe. "A significant number", "Hundreds", "Scores of engineers". The closest to a concrete number I found is 74 deaths on site, but the number ...
2
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1answer
172 views

Could a micrometeorite bombardment in an IMIS craft result in reactor rupture leading to the crew becoming stranded?

Apparently, I am a bit indecisive regarding an event that could possibly occur within the context of reality regarding nuclear thermal rockets, and I was thinking: is this space disaster scenario ...
4
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1answer
101 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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4answers
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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 ...
3
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1answer
79 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....
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1answer
475 views

What are the causes of Reaction Wheel Failures/Anomalies? [duplicate]

What are the mechanisms of reaction wheel anomalies? Are there any fish bone or fault tree analyses on these issues?
4
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1answer
510 views

Why couldn't the Falcon 1 flight 3 launch make it to orbit?

I've looked for better explanation, and all I can get is: Stage separation occurred as planned, but because residual fuel in the new Merlin 1C engine evaporated and provided transient thrust, the ...
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0answers
98 views

How does SpaceX determine mission success [closed]

In a tweet https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/678679083782377472 Mr Musk states that they are using Monte Carlo analysis to determine mission success. My Question(s): how does that work exactly? ...
18
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1answer
4k 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 ...
10
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2answers
399 views

When did Kepler roll over and how does it match the anomalies of KIC 8462852?

The Kepler space telescope, during its first mission, rolled over four times per year in order to keep its heat shield facing the Sun. At what dates (in that BJD time format) was this done during the ...
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1answer
281 views

Can Zachman framework be used to find out reason of Columbia space shuttle disaster?

It is somewhat hard to fill in the table without knowing the exact details beside what I can gather up from wiki that the incident was mainly attributed to damage to lift wing of shuttle going ...
7
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3answers
796 views

Could a communication satellite that fails to reach GEO be repurposed?

When a launcher's upper stage fails to put a commercial communication satellite in geostationary orbit, it cannot be used as intended. But could it be used in satellite-to-satellite communication ...
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3answers
6k 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....
24
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2answers
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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, ...
7
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3answers
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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." ...
4
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1answer
416 views

Why aren't there more guidance computers on cargo rated launch vehicles?

According to this video human-rated launch vehicles can have six guidance computers while cargo-rated launch vehicles seldom have more than two. If these computers function independently for greater ...
7
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2answers
963 views

What will the next ISS resupply launch be named?

Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) are contracts awarded by NASA for delivery of cargo and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) on commercially operated spacecraft. SpaceX signed a ...
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3answers
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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 ...
12
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1answer
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What went wrong with the CRS-7 launch?

Today's CRS-7 launch from Cape Canaveral (unfortunately) ended rather spectacularly, with an explosion about a minute after reaching Max-Q (maximum dynamic pressure), and with the rocket apparently ...
5
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1answer
795 views

What happened during ILS Proton M / Mexsat 1 launch?

It seems that some "abnormal situation" (нештатная ситуация) happened about a minute before Briz-M upper stage ignition, possibly during third stage separation of the International Launch Services' ...
13
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2answers
28k 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 ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Most common causes of 21st century launch failures and how often do launches fail?

In this document (Page 7, point 4.3), Garrett Reisman notes that an analysis by Aerospace Corporation showed the most common causes for launch failures between 1980 and 1999. This document shows the ...
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3answers
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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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3answers
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By how much may the maximum payload mass vary without causing a launch failure?

Most launch vehicles define an upper limit on the payload they may carry. For instance - Falcon 9, prepped for launch, has a defined max. payload capability of 13,150 kg. I would like to know the ...
11
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1answer
890 views

Do space launch service providers have to refund the loss of payload if the rocket explodes?

For example, when the Antares rocket, built and launched by commercial Orbital Sciences Corp burst into flames on October 28, 2014, it carried a lot of expensive payload. Did the company have to ...
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3answers
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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 ...
8
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2answers
279 views

How are accidents involving rockets and space vessels investigated?

There have been two accidents in the past week, the Antares launch of Orbital Science's CRS-3 mission, and the test flight of SpaceShip Two that went awry, resulting in the death of one of the two ...
14
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2answers
2k 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 ...
4
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2answers
868 views

Progress M-25M launched because of Antares?

Was Progress M-25M launched in response to Antares' catastrophic failure or were they 2 different launches, both planned to reach the ISS "separately"?
10
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3answers
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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 ...
10
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1answer
563 views

How should one analyze the video of the Antares CRS-3 explosion to find the clues to the cause?

From the raw video of the event (which just happened), a trained eye can narrow the possibilities, given good general knowledge of the rocket. What in the video indicates which systems were involved, ...
21
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2answers
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 "...
8
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1answer
805 views

What entails “Avionics” on the Antares Rocket?

In today's crash, seen below, there was a control operator who stated, right as the rocket blew up, "Avionics Power nominal". What does that mean exactly? Was he referring to the rocket power, power ...
6
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2answers
2k views

What would happen if the SPS did not fire on Apollo 8?

I have been watching From the Earth to the Moon, and just saw Part 4 which dramatised the Apollo 8 mission. During Apollo 8 the crew placed themselves in orbit around the moon, for one day, and then ...
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4answers
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What are the consequences if an astronaut's helmet gets damaged during a spacewalk?

Note: This has become a frequently asked question. Some related situations which have been regarded as duplicates of this question include these: Leaving vehicle / going outside without spacesuit or ...
15
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2answers
828 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 ...
16
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1answer
584 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 ...
15
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5answers
963 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,...
14
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
12k views

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 ...
75
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3answers
44k 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 ...