Author Topic: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections  (Read 2938 times)

Offline RedTail48

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #20 on: 08/08/2017 07:38 AM »
Sorry, looks like I mucked up my previous link to the Titan Flight List.


https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3xsz72w0ko3u944/AACKh7sctNK7RiRdjTwVHu__a?dl=0

Offline WallE

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #21 on: 08/08/2017 11:16 AM »
I can see that list is pretty outdated and predates GAMBIT declassification. Here's a couple of additional details on failures.

B-5: A bad hold down relay allowed the missile to release before it was at 100% thrust, one of the pad umbilicals sent a signal cutting the engines off.

J-2: A hydraulic fitting popped loose due to liftoff-induced vibration, it was found to be the result of a manufacturing defect and other Titan Is were also found to have bad fittings.

V-4: This was essentially the same failure as Atlas 45F (stuck engine valve, it tipped over and exploded). I saw a video a long long time ago (I think early 2000s) but I haven't seen it since.

3B-35/GAMBIT 73: Agena pneumatic regulator failure

3B-43/GAMBIT 77: Stuck fuel valve prevented Agena engine start

Offline RedTail48

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #22 on: 08/08/2017 11:23 AM »
Thanks for the Titan fails. I mentioned before I would hope to update all the Launch Listings with post-declass details and repost. Can't put a time on that.

Offline WallE

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #23 on: 08/10/2017 12:42 PM »
It has been said that Mariner 2's booster suffered an uncontrolled roll shortly before BECO that nearly threatened the mission. This was attributed to a loose wire in the missile programmer pushed back into place by the centrifugal force of the roll.

The GD/A doc "Atlas Autopilot Difficulties" reveals that Atlas 179D's autopilot was a mess and required extensive repair work during prelaunch preparations ("A History of Project Ranger" mentions the awful Q/C and numerous repairs almost every Atlas-Agena vehicle required after delivery). Oddly, there is no mention anywhere of the incident during launch. It might be in the postflight evaluation report for 179D, but we don't have that.

What's even more strange is that 145D and 179D had the old electromechanical "round" autopilot instead of the transistorized "square" autopilot. I would have assumed all SLV Atlases delivered after early 1961 had the square autopilot. In any case, given the difficulties with 179D's autopilot, they were lucky a loose wire was the most that went wrong and Mariner 2 didn't end up swimming with the fishes like its predecessor.

Offline RIB

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #24 on: 08/10/2017 02:21 PM »
any detailed info on the flight and failure of the GT-9  Atlas-Agena launch ?

Offline WallE

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #25 on: 08/10/2017 03:06 PM »
any detailed info on the flight and failure of the GT-9  Atlas-Agena launch ?

It had a control failure shortly before BECO. One of the booster engines went hard over and the Atlas pinwheeled around and started heading back towards earth. The Atlas sustainer and verniers cut off around 300 seconds, followed by Agena separation. Telemetry from the Agena continued until 450 seconds and then stopped.

Since it was a cloudy day, tracking cameras at CCAS failed to record the incident, but cameras several miles down the beach showed the Atlas flipping over. Agena engine start after staging did not occur because the proper altitude and velocity had not been achieved, so the guidance system was blocked from issuing the start command to it. The Atlas sustainer section and Agena impacted in the ocean about 120 miles downrange. The control failure was found to be the result of a short in the Atlas programmer servoamplifier, suspected to be from either a pinched wire or something being frozen from LOX leakage.

By 1966, Q/C on Atlas vehicles had improved significantly compared to 4-5 years earlier due to the standardized Atlas SLV, however incidents like this and the Canyon failure mentioned earlier show that random component malfunctions could still occur and result in the loss of a mission.


Offline RIB

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #26 on: 08/10/2017 06:31 PM »
any photos or video of the Atlas flipping over?

Offline WallE

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #27 on: 08/10/2017 06:57 PM »
any photos or video of the Atlas flipping over?



This newsreel clip shows the tracking camera footage of the Atlas cartwheeling. You can also see the booster jettison take place. Also there's video on Youtube of the CBS live coverage of the launch. Best part? Where someone says "I don't know how the Range Safety Officer has permitted the flight to continue." From watching the CBS coverage, it seems there was a bit of "deer in the headlights" syndrome going on and nobody in the blockhouse knew exactly what was happening.

DTIC (Defense Technical Information Center) lists a failure investigation report for the launch but there's no download link. They list a whole bunch of Atlas flight reports, but half of them don't have a download. Also they're all East Coast launches, there's no reports for any West Coast flights except Atlas 303D (failed Nike-Zeus test in 1966, no download link).

Atlas 68E experienced an extremely similar failure 16 years later, although in that case a propulsion rather than an autopilot malfunction caused it to flip over and descent back towards earth. The Range Safety Officer blew it up that time though.
« Last Edit: 08/15/2017 09:10 PM by WallE »

Offline WallE

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Re: Original Peter Hunter Photo Collections
« Reply #28 on: Today at 04:55 PM »
Atlas 100D/Mercury-Atlas 3. You all know this one--it was supposed to be the first orbital Mercury and the booster was destroyed by Range Safety action after the pitch and roll maneuver failed and it just kept going straight up.

A malfunction of the missile programmer was quickly determined to be the cause of the failure, but the exact cause was not clear. This was the first Mercury-Atlas to have the transistorized square autopilot, which had been first tested on R&D Atlas missiles in 1960. Several causes for the programmer malfunction were proposed, including a pin connector being contaminated with conformal plastic coating or a transient voltage causing the programmer to continuously reset, perhaps caused by RF interference or a malfunction of the ground support equipment at LC-14. The autopilot was extensively redesigned afterwards.

One other Atlas (late '60s ABRES test) and two Thors (operational missile tests in 1959) also went straight up after failing to perform the pitchover maneuver.

"The Right Stuff" movie includes a clip of MA-3, which is interesting because it shows the three second delay between engine cutoff and missile destruct added to Mercury vehicles to give the LES time to pull the capsule away. The capsule was recovered intact and reused on MA-4 five months later.

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