Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

N&P: Discuss governments, nations, politics and recent related news here.

Moderators: Alyrium Denryle, SCRawl, Thanas, Edi, K. A. Pital

Post Reply
User avatar
EnterpriseSovereign
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2269
Joined: 2006-05-12 12:19pm
Location: High orbit

Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2018-10-11 01:35pm

Wasn't sure if this should go here or SLAM:
Two astronauts from the US and Russia are safe after making an emergency landing when a booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station failed.

Nasa astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos's Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2.40pm local time from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Soyuz booster rocket.

They were to dock at the orbiting outpost six hours later - but the booster suffered a failure minutes after the launch.

Both space agencies have confirmed the astronauts are in good health after their emergency landing.
Full story here.
It's no use debating a moron; they drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

Just because you have the attention span of a fruit fly doesn't mean the rest of us are so encumbered.

"As you know science is not fact"- HuskerJay
"The Delta Fyler [sic] isn't even a shuttle craft" -HuskerJay69
"The Dominion War wasn't really all that bad"- Admiral Mercury

User avatar
Eternal_Freedom
Castellan
Posts: 9496
Joined: 2010-03-09 02:16pm
Location: Bound in a nutshell

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-10-11 03:42pm

I saw a snippet of the NASA TV coverage of this on Facebook. What struck me was how completely calm the narrator was. In the same tone of voice she went from "everything is going well" to "And there's the escape tower firing on the Soyuz."

I mean, I know keeping a cool head in a crisis is NASA's thing, but wow.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

User avatar
TimothyC
Of Sector 2814
Posts: 3568
Joined: 2005-03-23 05:31pm

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by TimothyC » 2018-10-11 06:21pm

Here is what we know
  • Soyuz-FG, which is the rocket used here has flown 64 times prior to this launch without any failures over the last 18 years.
  • The main use of the Soyuz-FG is to deliver Soyuz and Progress vehicles to the ISS (54 flights) and a limited commercial manifest (10 flights).
  • The Soyuz-FG rocket is mostly unchanged from the rocket developed by Sergei Korolev in the 1960s.
  • The first two stages of the R-7 family of rockets (of which the Soyuz-FG is a member) are lit on the pad at the same time. The outer four boosters then fall away at burnout:
    Image
    Image
    (one could make an argument that the closest analog to this is how the Space Shuttle's Solid boosters fell away while the main engines burned from the surface all the way to orbit)
  • Soviet/Russian nomenclature refers to the boosters (Blok-B,V,G,D) as 'Stage One', and the core (Blok A) as 'Stage 2'
  • Blok-B,V,G,D units often land in a manner that leaves them identifiable. This gives hope that physical hardware might be recovered for investigation. Embedded below is an image of a 'landed' booster.
    Image
  • Initial reports are that one of the boosters hung up on the core (they are attached at two points), and reconnected, causing the problem.
  • This is not the first time that a Soyuz has had problems in flight.
    • In 1975, Soyuz 7K-T No.39 suffered a failure when the core and upper stages did not disconnect properly and the upper stage burned while still attached to the core. The vehicle went off trajectory and the abort software terminated the flight. The two cosmonauts were subjected to loads of up to 21g due to the entry path caused by the off-nominal flight trajectory.
    • In 1983, Soyuz 7K-ST No. 16L suffered a fire on the pad, which resulted in the Launch escape system was commanded to fire and lift the crew away from the vehicle, which subsequently exploded
    • Two prior failures in Soyuz capsules occurred in 1967 (Soyuz 1) and 1971 (Soyuz 11), but neither involved the rocket.
  • The crew landed safely.
  • The current ISS crew on orbit (Expedition 57) can stay on orbit through the end of December. They are limited by the 210 day on-orbit life of the Soyuz capsule.
  • The capsule on orbit? Soyuz MS-09? That's the that has a hole in it that caused a leak earlier this year.
  • I would be willing to bet money that both Renton and Hawthorne are looking at what they can do to move the Commercial Crew schedule to the left.
  • The Russians are making noise about a quick evaluation of what happened, and getting another Soyuz on orbit earlier than planned to avoid a lack of crew on the station.
"I believe in the future. It is wonderful because it stands on what has been achieved." - Sergei Korolev

User avatar
EnterpriseSovereign
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2269
Joined: 2006-05-12 12:19pm
Location: High orbit

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2018-10-11 08:30pm

Yeah, by all accounts leaving the ISS unmanned would ultimately lead to the loss of the station due to the daily maintenance it needs.
It's no use debating a moron; they drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

Just because you have the attention span of a fruit fly doesn't mean the rest of us are so encumbered.

"As you know science is not fact"- HuskerJay
"The Delta Fyler [sic] isn't even a shuttle craft" -HuskerJay69
"The Dominion War wasn't really all that bad"- Admiral Mercury

User avatar
Sea Skimmer
Yankee Capitalist Air Pirate
Posts: 37330
Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
Location: Passchendaele City, HAB
Contact:

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-10-11 11:41pm

They have enough air and food stockpiled on the station to go a considerable amount of time, something really bad will have to be found at fault to force abandonment. That would lead to loss of station but not quickly.

Some very unclear about what happened, I discount all initial reports, the very earliest ones where blatantly wrong already, but the rocket was shaking badly before all thrust cut out and then the escape system was enabled.
"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956

User avatar
Jub
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2939
Joined: 2012-08-06 07:58pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by Jub » 2018-10-12 01:53am

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-10-11 03:42pm
I saw a snippet of the NASA TV coverage of this on Facebook. What struck me was how completely calm the narrator was. In the same tone of voice she went from "everything is going well" to "And there's the escape tower firing on the Soyuz."

I mean, I know keeping a cool head in a crisis is NASA's thing, but wow.
They were reading from a script and likely didn't know that anything had gone wrong. Hence why what they were saying didn't line up with what was actually happening. From what I understand only the first part of each Soyuz launch is live footage and then you get stock footage and stock animations. I think the Russian language team knew a little more of what was going on, but none of them were likely to have full info as things were going down.
EnterpriseSovereign wrote:
2018-10-11 08:30pm
Yeah, by all accounts leaving the ISS unmanned would ultimately lead to the loss of the station due to the daily maintenance it needs.
That's unlikely to happen for many reasons. Mainly, even if the launch system remains under investigation and can't be man-rated before December they could send up an unmanned capsule loaded with supplies, have it dock, and that becomes the new capsule attached to the station while the one reaching the end of its time in space is sent home.
Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-10-11 11:41pm
They have enough air and food stockpiled on the station to go a considerable amount of time, something really bad will have to be found at fault to force abandonment. That would lead to loss of station but not quickly.

Some very unclear about what happened, I discount all initial reports, the very earliest ones where blatantly wrong already, but the rocket was shaking badly before all thrust cut out and then the escape system was enabled.
Yeah, we'll need to wait to know exactly what went wrong especially with the bad info coming out and muddying the waters. That said, my money is on a stage separation issue based on what other knowledgeable people have said.

User avatar
EnterpriseSovereign
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2269
Joined: 2006-05-12 12:19pm
Location: High orbit

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2018-10-12 07:21pm

From what's been said so far, it looks like the second stage failed to ignite, causing the crew capsure to enter 'ballistic re-entry', aka falling back to Earth.
It's no use debating a moron; they drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

Just because you have the attention span of a fruit fly doesn't mean the rest of us are so encumbered.

"As you know science is not fact"- HuskerJay
"The Delta Fyler [sic] isn't even a shuttle craft" -HuskerJay69
"The Dominion War wasn't really all that bad"- Admiral Mercury

User avatar
SpottedKitty
Jedi Knight
Posts: 900
Joined: 2014-08-22 08:24pm
Location: UK

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by SpottedKitty » 2018-10-14 07:06am

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-10-11 11:41pm
They have enough air and food stockpiled on the station to go a considerable amount of time, something really bad will have to be found at fault to force abandonment. That would lead to loss of station but not quickly.
There's another time limit, though — as mentioned upthread, the Soyuz capsule currently docked at the station (which the current crew used to launch from Earth) can only stay on orbit for a limited time. I think it's something about seals in the fuel system only being rated for so many months in vacuum. IIRC this was an issue at least once before, either with ISS or Mir, although in that case the problem was dealt with before the limit expired.

Resupply flights using an unmanned Soyuz instead of a Progress might be an option, and that would allow them to leave the "new" Soyuz docked for the crew to use, resetting the time limit. On the gripping hand, you have to launch the thing on the same Soyuz booster that went <clunk> the other day.
“Despite rumor, Death isn't cruel — merely terribly, terribly good at his job.”
Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

User avatar
Jub
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2939
Joined: 2012-08-06 07:58pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by Jub » 2018-10-14 07:42am

SpottedKitty wrote:
2018-10-14 07:06am
Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-10-11 11:41pm
They have enough air and food stockpiled on the station to go a considerable amount of time, something really bad will have to be found at fault to force abandonment. That would lead to loss of station but not quickly.
There's another time limit, though — as mentioned upthread, the Soyuz capsule currently docked at the station (which the current crew used to launch from Earth) can only stay on orbit for a limited time. I think it's something about seals in the fuel system only being rated for so many months in vacuum. IIRC this was an issue at least once before, either with ISS or Mir, although in that case the problem was dealt with before the limit expired.

Resupply flights using an unmanned Soyuz instead of a Progress might be an option, and that would allow them to leave the "new" Soyuz docked for the crew to use, resetting the time limit. On the gripping hand, you have to launch the thing on the same Soyuz booster that went <clunk> the other day.
It has nothing to do with the seals, it's due to the hydrogen peroxide used for attitude adjustment being unstable and decomposing into hydrogen and oxygen which won't work for attitude control. The capsules have reentered in a full ballistic state once before by accident and shouldn't need attitude control for a safe, if rather jarring 8-9 G, deorbit but nobody wants to take that risk.

As for the Soyuz launch system the, system as a whole, has been as reliable as one might ask for. Certainly less prone to issues than the shuttle program and with fewer resultant fatalities. Of course, there's a bit more recency to the Soyuz issues which does raise some concerns. Still, my money is one at least an unmanned capsule being sent up before the December deadline and that the system is man-rated again in less than 6 months.

User avatar
Sea Skimmer
Yankee Capitalist Air Pirate
Posts: 37330
Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
Location: Passchendaele City, HAB
Contact:

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-10-16 05:30pm

So the Russians seem to be saying today one of the rumors from day 1 was true, one of the booster sections did not separate fully or did not separate cleanly, impacting the core stage, which is what caused the automatic abort to shutdown the engines after heavy vibrations. Not gonna post the full link text because it says little else of note then that. Nor do a couple other articles I looked out. They do not have a detail cause yet.

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/278 ... -collision
"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
— Field Marshal William Slim 1956

User avatar
Jub
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2939
Joined: 2012-08-06 07:58pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Re: Two astronauts make emergency landing after booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station fails

Post by Jub » 2018-10-16 09:28pm

That fits with everything that's come out thus far and this wouldn't be the first time they've had this happen, though none of those other cases caused a full launch abort, at least IIRC. I wonder if this will lead to a redesign of how the boosters separate from the main stage or if they'll have some more elegant fix?

Post Reply