Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION  (Read 539937 times)

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1380 on: 01/14/2018 02:37 AM »

This is not conspiracy. I have not seen any well founded declaration of failure, and definitely not with attribution. All I have seen is conjecture of failure run wild. If I have missed some attibuted declaration of failure, please re-point me in that direction.

Things like this don't happen if everything has gone to plan: https://twitter.com/SpaceBrendan/status/950802453213130754
Everyone keeps assuming Zuma is a spy satellite, but what if it was some sort of science experiment that's highly classified? It could be as simple as it got to orbit and was able to run it's tests in a few hours and then was deliberately deorbited before prying eyes could get a look at it.
I was wondering the same.

Well, if so, then why the misinformation campaign with *falsified* briefings to Congress, which per the leaks all seem to be spun in a way to then slander SpaceX? 

I'd caution against assuming falsified briefings. Whichever organization paid for Zuma is going to want/need another F9 launch in the future, and they will have nothing to gain by prematurely jumping to conclusions about who was at fault.

More likely is that some of the people leaking to the press (congressional aides, etc) don't fully understand the ambiguity of a potential separation system failure, because separation system failures are usually the fault of the launch vehicle but in this case may be the fault of Northtrop Grumman who provided the payload adapter.

Also, these are people who have no engineering background, haven't read the payload ICD, or the F9 user's guide, or the SpaceX contract and what exactly the criteria were for mission success.

In  such an environment, it's easy for one such under-informed congressional aide, or even congressman, to give a  reporter a simplistic and unintentionally misleading characterization of a behind-doors briefing, especially if that reporter is Andy Pasztor who is known to have an axe to grind with SpaceX.

I would note that the one direct quote I've read from a Congressman did not point any fingers, only noted that there was likely a dispute between SpaceX and NG over who was at fault.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/lost-in-space-questions-mount-over-fate-of-secret-satellite-as-spacex-pushes-ahead/2018/01/12/c7b42cde-f729-11e7-b34a-b85626af34ef_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-national%3Ahomepage%2Fcard&utm_term=.e5f238a89566

Quote
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who said he received a “preliminary briefing,”.... said he did not know who was to blame, he indicated that the dispute might lead to litigation. “Those two companies are going to have a long and, I suspect, very expensive discussion,” he said.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2018 02:57 AM by Kabloona »

Offline gongora

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1381 on: 01/14/2018 02:58 AM »
After the first day or two have there been many stories from reputable news sources putting blame on SpaceX for the failure?  Even ones with information from unnamed congressman and congressional aides?  We're really not back to McCarthyism here.  (I'm sure you can find some newer stories pointing a finger at SpaceX, but it's not unusual for some conservative sites that don't like Elon to write bad stories about his companies all the time anyway.  It's just their normal behavior.)

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1382 on: 01/14/2018 03:08 AM »
Also, following up on Iridium CEO Matt Desch's twitter defense of SpaceX, there's this:

http://fortune.com/2018/01/12/spacex-northrop-grumman-iridium-zuma-satellite/

reporting that Desch speculated that the payload dispenser may have been at fault.

Yes, speculation again, but Desch is in a position to know mission details from SpaceX, so his speculation is likely much better informed than ours. And again it points to a failure to separate.

Also, the word "dispenser" is suggestive, because a single large payload doesn't usually get deployed from a dispenser. Multiple payloads like Iridium use dispensers.  This is more in line with a suggestion upthread that Zuma could be multiple satellites, possibly part of a notional radar satellite constellation mentioned by Ed Kyle.

https://blog.iridium.com/2016/07/15/first-falcon-9-iridium-next-satellite-dispenser-arrives-at-launch-site/
« Last Edit: 01/14/2018 01:22 PM by Kabloona »

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1383 on: 01/14/2018 03:17 AM »
The reason for that spiral is likely linked to the accelerating roll seen during the last two or three minutes of this video.


 - Ed Kyle

That was Falcon 9 1.0 and a Merlin 1C Vac in the upper stage.  Neither apply to the ZUMA launch.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2018 03:18 AM by docmordrid »
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Offline geza

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1384 on: 01/14/2018 03:25 AM »
Quote
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who said he received a “preliminary briefing,”.... said he did not know who was to blame, he indicated that the dispute might lead to litigation. “Those two companies are going to have a long and, I suspect, very expensive discussion,” he said.
For a while, I belived in the "failure is a cover story" version and the hypersonic reentry experiment. This quote from a named congressman made it absolutely clear that Zuma did fail.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1385 on: 01/14/2018 05:25 AM »
Patches have been recalled from resellers:

http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-011218a-spacex-zuma-mission-patch-recall.html

If SpaceX is pulling patches for this mission, I think that's sufficient to label this flight as a failure, regardless of who is at fault. :-(
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline yokem55

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1386 on: 01/14/2018 06:22 AM »
Patches have been recalled from resellers:

http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-011218a-spacex-zuma-mission-patch-recall.html

If SpaceX is pulling patches for this mission, I think that's sufficient to label this flight as a failure, regardless of who is at fault. :-(
Launch and LV success (as asserted by SpaceX), mission failure.

Offline hektor

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1387 on: 01/14/2018 07:41 AM »
I was listening Stéphane Israel on the radio this morning. Was quite insistent to report that SpaceX had a failure.

Online jpo234

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1388 on: 01/14/2018 07:47 AM »
I was listening Stéphane Israel on the radio this morning. Was quite insistent to report that SpaceX had a failure.
He has not a "need to know" for a classified US mission. He has a strong motivation to discredit a competitor.
You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. That's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and believing the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than being out there among the stars.

Offline hektor

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1389 on: 01/14/2018 08:31 AM »
It is good politics for Arianespace to do so given the place they are now.

I can only imagine how they would use a real launch failure.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2018 08:32 AM by hektor »

Offline vandersons

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1390 on: 01/14/2018 09:05 AM »
Page 17 looks like it has a picture of a similar spiral, just photographed some time later in the dump process than the Zuma dump, therefore it looks more like a ring until you have a look at the smaller features in that cloud.

Offline psionedge

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1391 on: 01/14/2018 09:09 AM »
Also, following up on Iridium CEO Matt Desch's twitter defense of SpaceX, there's this from Bloomberg:

http://fortune.com/2018/01/12/spacex-northrop-grumman-iridium-zuma-satellite/

reporting that Desch speculated in a message to Bloomberg that the payload dispenser may have been at fault.

Yes, speculation again, but Desch is in a position to know mission details from SpaceX, so his speculation is likely much better informed than ours. And again it points to a failure to separate.

Also, the word "dispenser" is suggestive, because a single large payload doesn't usually get deployed from a dispenser. Multiple payloads like Iridium use dispensers.  This is more in line with a suggestion upthread that Zuma could be multiple satellites, possibly part of a notional radar satellite constellation mentioned by Ed Kyle.

https://blog.iridium.com/2016/07/15/first-falcon-9-iridium-next-satellite-dispenser-arrives-at-launch-site/
Did SpaceX provide the dispensers for previous Iridium launches?

IIRC they would broadcast though all payload deployments, even though they may not have provided the deployment mechanism.

Indeed mission success for Iridium wouldn't have been declared if stage 2 got to the proper orbit but some or all of the satellites failed to deploy.

It seems SpaceX may have taken a different position here, at least in the early goings. The recall of mission patches seems to indicate that even if they weren't at fault (via a contractor provided separation mechanism) a mission failure is still a failure.

When did SpaceX hand out patches to the media for Iridium launches? After all the payloads deployed or after stage 2 arrived at the deployment orbit?

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1392 on: 01/14/2018 09:54 AM »
>
Did SpaceX provide the dispensers for previous Iridium launches?
>

Iridium blog....

Quote
>
In order to accommodate a payload of this size, SpaceX developed a Falcon 9 satellite dispenser unit that was capable of managing the critical-timed separation and deployment of ten satellites from each rocket. These dispensers were built out of a carbon fiber composite to reduce mass, minimize the total number of parts and simplify their composition while increasing structural stiffness and strength. The design of this dispenser places the Iridium NEXT satellite vehicles in two separate stacked tiers around the outside of each dispenser, holding five satellites per tier.
>

It masses about 1,000 kg per  SpaceNews....

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>
Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX is building the 1,000-kilogram dispenser that will separate the 10 satellites into or bit on release from the rocket.
>
« Last Edit: 01/14/2018 10:11 AM by docmordrid »
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Offline kevinof

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1393 on: 01/14/2018 10:15 AM »
I don't think I would want to be celebrating a successful launch of my rocket while the customer was figuring out how to explain $1B (ish) payload that is at the bottom of the ocean. Not good PR.

Patches have been recalled from resellers:

http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-011218a-spacex-zuma-mission-patch-recall.html

If SpaceX is pulling patches for this mission, I think that's sufficient to label this flight as a failure, regardless of who is at fault. :-(

Offline JimO

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1394 on: 01/14/2018 11:33 AM »
The reason for that spiral is likely linked to the accelerating roll seen during the last two or three minutes of this video.


 - Ed Kyle

That was Falcon 9 1.0 and a Merlin 1C Vac in the upper stage.  Neither apply to the ZUMA launch.

Au contraire, those images and ground observations of two other more recent second stage thrusting/dumping in orbit indicate that the observed Zuma double spiral effect is not normal.

Offline Jarnis

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1395 on: 01/14/2018 11:41 AM »
Maybe differences between Block 4 upper stages and older upper stages?

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1396 on: 01/14/2018 02:26 PM »
Also, following up on Iridium CEO Matt Desch's twitter defense of SpaceX, there's this:

http://fortune.com/2018/01/12/spacex-northrop-grumman-iridium-zuma-satellite/

reporting that Desch speculated that the payload dispenser may have been at fault.

Yes, speculation again, but Desch is in a position to know mission details from SpaceX, so his speculation is likely much better informed than ours. And again it points to a failure to separate.

Also, the word "dispenser" is suggestive, because a single large payload doesn't usually get deployed from a dispenser. Multiple payloads like Iridium use dispensers.  This is more in line with a suggestion upthread that Zuma could be multiple satellites, possibly part of a notional radar satellite constellation mentioned by Ed Kyle.

https://blog.iridium.com/2016/07/15/first-falcon-9-iridium-next-satellite-dispenser-arrives-at-launch-site/

There's zero chance that Desch would know any better than the rest of us whether Zuma was more than one satellite or not.  He's the CEO of a private company.  It would be illegal for anyone to tell him classified information.

Desch knows exactly what we know -- that SpaceX is saying they did everything correctly for the Zuma mission.  If Desch used the term "dispenser" that's likely simply because he thinks in terms of dispensers because his company's launches on Falcon 9 use them.  It's as simple as that.  It doesn't give us any hint about Zuma.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1397 on: 01/14/2018 02:32 PM »
Bottom line -- the people who briefed the Congressional leadership seem to have portrayed this to them as a SpaceX failure, even as SpaceX was stating extremely emphatically that it is *not* their failure.

Someone is lying.  Pure and simple.  Place your own bets as to which, but it seems to me SpaceX has more to lose by lying about it than the mysterious and unnamed "them" who, based on the commonalities of the leaked reports, briefed the leadership with the "SpaceX failed" story.  Note that *none of the leaks seems to blame anyone except SpaceX.

Is there such a thing as a law against the intelligence community lying during classified briefings to the leadership?  How can they be held accountable if they feel major decisions were made the wrong way by Congress, so they will just provide whatever information they feel is required to get such decisions changed, whether that information is true or not?

Or is it possible that NG, as the prime contractor, was tasked with the briefings, and they just spun them to put themselves in the clear?

Whatever happened, whoever did those briefings, assuming SpaceX is telling the truth, are the liars.  Zuma may have been classified; is the identity of the briefers?  Personally, IMHO, it's easier to believe lawyers and politicians are liars than engineers.  But they are all humans, and thus fallible...

You're doing exactly the same thing that is responsible for these stories implying SpaceX did something wrong on the Zuma mission: you're leaping to conclusions and placing blame without evidence.

There's no evidence any briefing to congress said SpaceX did anything wrong.

A perfectly plausible explanation for everything we've seen in the press is that there was a briefing that said that Zuma failed and they are investigating the cause, then someone who heard that decided that since the cause is still under investigation, SpaceX could possibly be to blame, and that was what was reported.

No lying by anyone is necessary for any of the news stories we've seen.  Just speculation based on incomplete information, just like what you're doing when claiming someone is lying.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1398 on: 01/14/2018 03:11 PM »
Quote
There's zero chance that Desch would know any better than the rest of us whether Zuma was more than one satellite or not.

And I'd estimate a 100% chance Desch has been in touch directly with Gwynne Shotwell about F9 performance on the mission. And I have no doubt Gwynne scrupulously stuck to script and avoided classified information, so I am in no way impugning her integrity.

But is it possible she would feel within bounds to make a comment like "F9 delivered the proper separation command(s) to the payload dispenser?"  Maybe, maybe not, I don't know.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2018 03:21 PM by Kabloona »

Offline Nomadd

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1399 on: 01/14/2018 03:19 PM »
 OK. I'm going to watch everybody repeat the same things six, maybe seven more times tops, then I'm giving up.

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