Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION  (Read 424141 times)

Offline mule169



Well IF there is any actual misunderstanding it may just boil down to SpaceX people being the last ones to touch the stuff. NG might just be like "it was working when we handed it to you, you broke it". And I guess this is possible too, all SpaceX says is that "Falcon 9 did its job", this does not preclude some SpaceX guy breaking something not belonging to Falcon.... :-[

Another possibility is that the spacecraft was supposed to separate only after passing some healthchecks (to not leave super secret payload dead in orbit, dropping who-knows-where), and if they failed, the separation was cancelled automatically. Then the problem could be anywhere in the spacecraft.

No, there is no such logic or interaction between rocket and payload.   The rocket releases the payload (or sends the signal for the sep)  at the set time after the final upper stage burn no matter what.  There is no changing this by logic or RF signal.   The spacecraft does not do anything until it sees it has separated by breakwires or micro switches.  There is no changing this by logic or RF signal. 

This has been the process for decades because more problems have arose when the process wasn’t followed.

Curious if when you say "the spacecraft does nothing" if that includes a de-orbit burn? 

If the issue was that the Zuma didn't separate and the breakwires/micros witches weren't broken/actuated, does the "do nothing" mean the 2nd stage continues on with it's mission profile or is there a different set of instructions it follows in the case the payload doesn't separate?

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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1381 on: 01/13/2018 04:33 PM »
The second stage goes on with its mission.  There is no logic for no sep case.  It doesn't matter.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2018 04:36 PM by Jim »

Offline Jcc

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1382 on: 01/13/2018 05:30 PM »
The second stage goes on with its mission.  There is no logic for no sep case.  It doesn't matter.

So you are saying there was no possibility of intervention from the ground when/if they realized the sc didn't separate?  I guess not.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1383 on: 01/13/2018 05:33 PM »
The second stage goes on with its mission.  There is no logic for no sep case.  It doesn't matter.

So you are saying there was no possibility of intervention from the ground when/if they realized the sc didn't separate?  I guess not.

Standard practice is that the spacecraft does not become active until after separation.  Also, there aren't always ground stations around during the time of spacecraft Sep.

Online MP99

I suspect this 'event' will have a very real impact on who gets selected to launch future high value missions, it will be very easy to say 'we don't know who is really to blame, why take the risk' and you can argue till you are blue in the face that it is not true, it won't help anyone.
Of course they probably know what happened. We don't and probably never will. If it was SX's fault, SX will fix it.  If it's NG's fault, NG will fix it.  If it's NG's fault why would they avoid flying on SX?

SX says the rocket performed nominally and seem to be moving on to FH and other missions
NG's adapter would have been built to specs provided by SpaceX.

F9 could have operated nominally, but there be some discrepancy/error with the specs provided to NG. (Unlikely/conspiracy theory, but it's a corner case.)

However, ISTM that the adapter could easily detect a period of sustained acceleration (with S2 sep) followed by free fall, then separate after a delay of EG 10 mins if no separation commanded by S2. This mission wasn't complicated by anything like a follow-on GTO burn.

Any reason that couldn't be built in as a fallback?

Cheers, Martin

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Online MP99


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.

Cheers, Martin

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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1386 on: 01/13/2018 06:49 PM »
I suspect this 'event' will have a very real impact on who gets selected to launch future high value missions, it will be very easy to say 'we don't know who is really to blame, why take the risk' and you can argue till you are blue in the face that it is not true, it won't help anyone.
Of course they probably know what happened. We don't and probably never will. If it was SX's fault, SX will fix it.  If it's NG's fault, NG will fix it.  If it's NG's fault why would they avoid flying on SX?

SX says the rocket performed nominally and seem to be moving on to FH and other missions
NG's adapter would have been built to specs provided by SpaceX.

F9 could have operated nominally, but there be some discrepancy/error with the specs provided to NG. (Unlikely/conspiracy theory, but it's a corner case.)

However, ISTM that the adapter could easily detect a period of sustained acceleration (with S2 sep) followed by free fall, then separate after a delay of EG 10 mins if no separation commanded by S2. This mission wasn't complicated by anything like a follow-on GTO burn.

Any reason that couldn't be built in as a fallback?

Cheers, Martin

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The adapter is just dumb structure, there is no avionics on it.  Falcon would just send an ordnance signal to perform the sep or a discreet to Zuma avionics.

Separation is performed by positive signals and not sensed acceleration, which is another lesson learned from the past.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2018 06:51 PM by Jim »

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1387 on: 01/13/2018 08:15 PM »

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?  That would be proof that one of the aims of Zuma was to find some way to discredit SpaceX in some fashion.

If that was even remotely what has happened, we need a Congressional inquiry into that.  Or else we open the door to "unnamed government sources" making accusations against people and corporations that amount to guilt in the public eye determined without any kind of trial or option for any kind of defense.

That's not the America I was raised to believe in.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1388 on: 01/13/2018 08:31 PM »

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.

A few hours is not enough for a test.  It takes much longer just to wake up a spacecraft.

Online pb2000

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1389 on: 01/13/2018 08:43 PM »

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?  That would be proof that one of the aims of Zuma was to find some way to discredit SpaceX in some fashion.

If that was even remotely what has happened, we need a Congressional inquiry into that.  Or else we open the door to "unnamed government sources" making accusations against people and corporations that amount to guilt in the public eye determined without any kind of trial or option for any kind of defense.

That's not the America I was raised to believe in.
When people hear space mission failure, they assume rocket failure, so the discrediting of SpaceX may be little more than an unfortunate by-product.

The rest of the misinformation could be just that; congress supposedly spent a billion dollars on this mission and if it really is that secretive, regardless of what the mission was, it may have just been easier to say it failed. Based on how quickly it was leaked that the mission failed, "Top Secret" clearly is viewed as optional to some people in the government.
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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1390 on: 01/13/2018 08:55 PM »

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.

A few hours is not enough for a test.  It takes much longer just to wake up a spacecraft.
Who said anything about a spacecraft?
Launches attended: Worldview-4 (Atlas V 401), Iridium NEXT Flight 1 (Falcon 9 FT)

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1391 on: 01/13/2018 09:30 PM »

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.

A few hours is not enough for a test.  It takes much longer just to wake up a spacecraft.
Who said anything about a spacecraft?

the payload would be a spacecraft in every definition since they did not launch a dummy mass. 

Alright, A few hours is not enough for a test.  It takes much longer just to wake up a payload for space based test.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2018 09:32 PM by Jim »

Offline SLC

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1392 on: 01/13/2018 10:01 PM »
There's a huge problem with all of the "mission so secret that it has to be disguised as a failure" theories; a simple decoy satellite would have disguised it much better and drawn far less attention.

You take the secret payload (swarm of stealth microsatellites, hypersonic re-entry vehicle, captured alien wormhole generator, whatever) and put it on the special adapter along with a decoy satellite that doesn't need to do anything except station-keep for a while.  Launch and release them all, and the decoy gets tracked and catalogued as USA-280, while the secret stuff does its invisible work in the shadows.  Everybody forgets about the launch after a week, except enthusiasts who occasionally wonder what USA-280 is doing: "Guess we'll never know..."

So I'd have to conclude that Zuma actually was a failure.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1393 on: 01/13/2018 10:43 PM »

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?  That would be proof that one of the aims of Zuma was to find some way to discredit SpaceX in some fashion.

If that was even remotely what has happened, we need a Congressional inquiry into that.  Or else we open the door to "unnamed government sources" making accusations against people and corporations that amount to guilt in the public eye determined without any kind of trial or option for any kind of defense.

That's not the America I was raised to believe in.
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Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1394 on: 01/13/2018 10:49 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...
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1395 on: 01/13/2018 11:21 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.

Hanlon's Razor.  Presuming congressional leakers are passing along a fair representation of portrayals is fraught.

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1396 on: 01/14/2018 12:23 AM »
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 need to chill out.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1397 on: 01/14/2018 12:26 AM »
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 need to chill out.

You may not recall the McCarthy era.  I do.
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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1398 on: 01/14/2018 12:51 AM »
see also pp. 102-107 in this report
of a Falcon-9 post insertion fuel dump.
No spiral.
http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/misc/Space_clouds-Strange_Spinoff_of_the_Space_Age.pdf

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #1399 on: 01/14/2018 02:29 AM »
Look at page 80 of the report. Dragon Qual unit, spiral.
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