Author Topic: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011  (Read 412721 times)

Offline olasek

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #700 on: 11/11/2011 04:03 AM »
Quote from: ntrgc89 link=topic=15610.msg827995#msg827995
A bit premature don't you think? The SC is still up there, they're still trying.
I don't think it is premature, it is over and some key space program Russian officials had already admitted so. But of course they will be trying as they have nothing to lose.

Online Chris Bergin

Also was told this is now looking like a lost cause, but we were getting to that stage already.

Yea, I was thinking, even if they somehow manage to magically bounce the signal off something weird and get it through to get the SC to talk, then what?

We need a bit of this!


Offline hop

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #702 on: 11/11/2011 04:30 AM »
I don't think it is premature, it is over and some key space program Russian officials had already admitted so.
It's *probably* over, but that's not the same thing. How many times was the Hayabusa mission over ?

Offline iamlucky13

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #703 on: 11/11/2011 04:52 AM »
Quote from: ntrgc89 link=topic=15610.msg827995#msg827995
A bit premature don't you think? The SC is still up there, they're still trying.
I don't think it is premature, it is over and some key space program Russian officials had already admitted so. But of course they will be trying as they have nothing to lose.

If you're thinking about the same quote I am, it wasn't someone involved in the Phobos mission, or in the hierarchy directly above them and in a position to comment authoritatively.

It's not over until things start burning off the spacecraft on the way down. Even if by the time they sort things it's too far out of plane or too low to make a proper trans-Mars injection, it would still be a functional spacecraft with a lot of delta-V. Who knows...they might be able to raise its orbit and park it for a bit and plan out an alternate mission like visiting a near earth asteroid.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

I remembered a similar software issue that nearly crippled another Mars mission several years ago.

Back in January 2004, just 16 days after the Spirit rover landed on Mars, it suddenly stopped responding to commands from Earth. For more than 2 days there was only one single telemetry downlink from the rover, and the data was garbled. Then just two minutes after signal acquisition, it stopped. Several attempts to communicate with the rover was unsuccessful for more than two days. It was not until more than three days later when it sent enough data to Earth that it can be concluded that the rover triggered a safe mode condition, but the initial attempts to command it to downlink telemetry and shut down the instruments were unsuccessful. Another day would pass before engineers could determine the issue is in the flash memory system: it got corrupted during a routine health check. They then issued commands to bypass the flash memory system and shut it down, and the rover finally achieved full command after five days. (Detailed information can be found here and in Steve Squires' book Roving Mars)

I cannot help but to compare the current issue with Phobos-Grunt with this case. In both cases the communication link was suddenly lost; no communication occurred and control was lost for days; only a short signal can be heard from both spacecrafts; there are limited communication windows (though I think it is slightly better in the case of Spirit);  the antennas were not pointing in the optimum place for communication; the hints at both spacecraft went into safe modes due to re-booting of the computers. Of course there are many differences (I believe the situation for Phobos-Grunt is a bit more severe, particularly as it is being in a low Earth orbit, which is a place that is less tolerant for trouble-shooting and attitude control), but as an amateur I would say that it is too early to claim defeat just yet. While I am not sure how many redundancies the Russians have put in the spacecraft's control system software (and hardware), if they have enough hacks in place (just like the MER team did) they might have a chance of salvaging the mission. So fingers crossed!  :)
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline sdsds

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #705 on: 11/11/2011 05:11 AM »
Also was told this is now looking like a lost cause, but we were getting to that stage already.

Yea, I was thinking, even if they somehow manage to magically bounce the signal off something weird and get it through to get the SC to talk, then what? There's no way they'll be able to upload an entire command sequence (or at least I imagine any command to have the spacecraft do something with its engines is going to be longer and more complicated than switching the radio on.

It's difficult to imagine they could successfully command the two burns required for TMI within the current window of opportunity for the FG orbit.  But can anyone show there is no chance of completing the first burn, and then performing the final TMI burn after the orbital plane has realigned through its natural precession?

Another time constraint is the rate with which the probe's parking orbit is precessing -- about 6-7 degrees per day -- out of the optimal plane for insertion onto the trans-Mars trajectory. Each day means the need for a bigger burn to correct for the growing planar error.

At 6 degrees per day, the orbital plane will complete one revolution in 60 days, yes?  And after the first burn, the spacecraft would experience much less atmospheric drag.  This scheme is certainly a "long shot" with low probability of mission success, but demonstrating that the spacecraft can receive any command would be a first step along the path.
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Offline alk3997

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #706 on: 11/11/2011 05:18 AM »
I remembered a similar software issue that nearly crippled another Mars mission several years ago.

Back in January 2004, just 16 days after the Spirit rover landed on Mars, it suddenly stopped responding to commands from Earth. For more than 2 days there was only one single telemetry downlink from the rover, and the data was garbled. Then just two minutes after signal acquisition, it stopped. Several attempts to communicate with the rover was unsuccessful for more than two days. It was not until more than three days later when it sent enough data to Earth that it can be concluded that the rover triggered a safe mode condition, but the initial attempts to command it to downlink telemetry and shut down the instruments were unsuccessful. Another day would pass before engineers could determine the issue is in the flash memory system: it got corrupted during a routine health check. They then issued commands to bypass the flash memory system and shut it down, and the rover finally achieved full command after five days. (Detailed information can be found here and in Steve Squires' book Roving Mars)

I cannot help but to compare the current issue with Phobos-Grunt with this case. In both cases the communication link was suddenly lost; no communication occurred and control was lost for days; only a short signal can be heard from both spacecrafts; there are limited communication windows (though I think it is slightly better in the case of Spirit);  the antennas were not pointing in the optimum place for communication; the hints at both spacecraft went into safe modes due to re-booting of the computers. Of course there are many differences (I believe the situation for Phobos-Grunt is a bit more severe, particularly as it is being in a low Earth orbit, which is a place that is less tolerant for trouble-shooting and attitude control), but as an amateur I would say that it is too early to claim defeat just yet. While I am not sure how many redundancies the Russians have put in the spacecraft's control system software (and hardware), if they have enough hacks in place (just like the MER team did) they might have a chance of salvaging the mission. So fingers crossed!  :)


Very very different.  Your analogy is kind of like saying that all car crashes are the same.

On the MER they had a working spacecraft and already had a theory of what the root cause was of the problem.  As I recall it was a memory card issue.  And they knew exactly how long it would take for the spacecraft to reset.  Also their position on Mars wasn't going to decay in a short amount of time and they didn't need to have an injection burn during a planetary window.  There were also no hacks involved but well thought-out contingency plans.

Fobos-Grunt is the situation where a spacecraft never really showed it was healthy after reaching orbit.  There is no indication of if the spacecraft will reset itself and there is no known root cause.  So, very very different scenario. 

About the only thing that is the same is that both spacecraft had Mars as a destination.

If you really want to compare, this scenario more closely matches that of the Mars 2MV-3 and 2MV-4 spacecraft which never really received formal names since they didn't leave Earth orbit.

Also please note that nobody official has confirmed a software problem.  It's just that software is much easier to change from the ground than to fix hardware, although many people would volunteer to fix the hardware on-orbit.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2011 05:21 AM by alk3997 »

Offline SaveMannedSpace

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #707 on: 11/11/2011 05:21 AM »
Regarding NASA offering help:
http://planetary.org/blog/article/00003254/

"according to Doug McCuistion, who was asked minutes ago at a press briefing about Curiosity if NASA was helping, "We have offered assistance and if they need it we will provide it to the best of our ability. That's a different organization from ours. I am not sure if they have asked for such assistance, but we have offered it."
Art Harman, Director, The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration
www.SaveMannedSpace.com * www.facebook.com/savemannedspace

Online savuporo

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #708 on: 11/11/2011 05:22 AM »
Wow, this was quick. Looks like some heads might start to roll

http://interfax.ru/politics/news.asp?id=216291
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline olasek

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #709 on: 11/11/2011 05:53 AM »
Quote from: iamlucky13 link=topic=15610.msg828008#msg828008
  or in the hierarchy directly above them and in a position to comment authoritatively.
yes, it was someone in the position to comment authoritatively because it was a high official from the US equivalent of Russian Space Command, it was a military guy, a general.

Quote
. Even if by the time they sort things it's too far out of plane or too low to make a proper trans-Mars injection, it would still be a functional spacecraft ....alternate mission like visiting a near earth asteroid.
if you believe in stuff like this I have a bridge I could sell you ...  ::)

I also fully agree with alk3997's analysis - there is ZERO analogy between those two events.
« Last Edit: 11/11/2011 06:01 AM by olasek »

Offline lucspace

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #710 on: 11/11/2011 07:54 AM »
So, basically, this night has passed without additional official comments, quotes or concrete news... I have a sinking feeling about this mission.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #711 on: 11/11/2011 08:38 AM »
So, basically, this night has passed without additional official comments, quotes or concrete news... I have a sinking feeling about this mission.

Even though the Soviet era of paranoia and secrecy is gone, many Russian institutions still operate very strongly on a 'cover up embarrassments' policy.  However, failure to report success for a publicly-known mission that is publicly known to be in trouble is highly indicative, IMHO at least.
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Offline Launch Fan

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #713 on: 11/11/2011 09:23 AM »
Very sad :(

Offline apace

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #714 on: 11/11/2011 09:28 AM »
Very sad :(

Perhaps a chance to get the Russian space science back on track... if China has more tracking capability than the country which was first in space I have my questions...

Online plutogno

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #715 on: 11/11/2011 09:46 AM »
Perhaps a chance to get the Russian space science back on track...

the Russian space official who said a few months ago that Roskosmos is spending too large a share of its budget in manned spaceflight and too little in application and science was probably right

Offline Nick

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #716 on: 11/11/2011 09:59 AM »
Concerning all this talk about sending commands from the ISS, Goldstone and ESA, do any of these facilities actually have a capability to transmit in the 7 Gigahertz (not 7 MHz) spectrum?
Thanks for that correction - I was rather startled by the idea that they were still using HF, but didn't like to argue.

It also goes a long way to explaining why antenna shielding may be such a serious issue if the spacecraft is in an unexpected configuration.

Offline Cbased

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #717 on: 11/11/2011 10:26 AM »
http://users.livejournal.com/___lin___/178444.html

Updates 6 and 7 are interesting:
(like essentially everything in this thread - take it with a grain of salt)

6: There is information that they send a command to SC (most likely from a comms station located at Baikonur) to turn on the system of "external trajectory measurements" (not sure how to translate "система внешнетраекторных измерений") - essentially an autonomous beeper. This is a command of direct execution, that bypasses all other systems. If it starts beeping - then it's a live, If not - most likely dead.

7: There is no signal from the beeper. They will keep trying but...


Offline JimO

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #718 on: 11/11/2011 11:09 AM »
Even though the Soviet era of paranoia and secrecy is gone, many Russian institutions still operate very strongly on a 'cover up embarrassments' policy.  However, failure to report success for a publicly-known mission that is publicly known to be in trouble is highly indicative, IMHO at least. 

A very perceptive comment. The term I've used in advising my news media clients, for the reaction of space officials and their press liaison teams, is 'panicked despair'. It's as if they are pulling the blanket over their heads and wishing people would just lose interest and move on to some other story. Unprofessional, irresponsible, and in the modern interdependent world of space partnerships, unacceptable -- IMHO.

They have defiantly withheld information on their activities, on what they are attempting, on the true state of the vehicle [ARE the solar arrays really deployed?], on the degree of pre-flight contingency planning as it may apply to this situation, and to the most basic guidelines of any possible delayed trans-Mars insertions [such as -- what is the time limit imposed by the parking orbit's precession?].

The one bright light was the pre-launch request from IKI for South American observers, a request that turned out to be prescient. But culturally, for a long time Russians had not been willing to ask for help from foreigners, it was regarded as a sign of weakness. In the bad old Soviet days, they would rather have died -- and sometimes did -- in sight of foreign help they refused to ask for. One glaring example was a serious fire at their 'Vostok' Antarctic base in 1982 that was covered up in a pretense of normalcy while the men struggled for their lives -- with rescue from other countries only days away, if asked for.

In a spasm of dark humor, I'm reminded of the scene in "The Christmas Story" where Ralphie and his classmates are asked by their teacher where one of their friends (a boy named Flick) is -- who's actually in difficulty due to a prank he was dared into doing. Ralphie's innocent-faced response [voiced by the narrator}: "Flick? Flick who?"

Moscow officials are playing the "Fobos? Fobos who?" game now, in contemptuous disregard of their international partners on this project. And as a result, they are seriously poisoning the trust and expected candor levels that have been grudgingly but inexorably built up over the long, difficult years of joint work with other nations, including the US. They've even annoyed China, never a prudent plan.

And the project failure itself isn't the cause, since we've overcome worse, together. The failure is in the hearts, minds, and souls of the people running the program, who could have chosen differently, but did not so so.

And you may quote me.

« Last Edit: 11/11/2011 11:12 AM by JimO »

Offline aquanaut99

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Re: LIVE: Zenit-2SB launch with Phobos-Grunt - November 8, 2011
« Reply #719 on: 11/11/2011 11:15 AM »
A very perceptive comment. The term I've used in advising my news media clients, for the reaction of space officials and their press liaison teams, is 'panicked despair'. It's as if they are pulling the blanket over their heads and wishing people would just lose interest and move on to some other story. Unprofessional, irresponsible, and in the modern interdependent world of space partnerships, unacceptable -- IMHO.


In a spasm of dark humor, I'm reminded of the scene in "The Christmas Story" where Ralphie and his classmates are asked by their teacher where one of their friends (a boy named Flick) is -- who's actually in difficulty due to a prank he was dared into doing. Ralphie's innocent-faced response [voiced by the narrator}: "Flick? Flick who?"

...

Moscow officials are playing the "Fobos? Fobos who?" game now, in contemptuous disregard of their international partners on this project. And as a result, they are seriously poisoning the trust and expected candor levels that have been grudgingly but inexorably built up over the long, difficult years of joint work with other nations, including the US. They've even frakked off China, never a prudent plan.

And the project failure itself isn't the cause, since we've overcome worse, together. The failure is in the hearts, minds, and souls of the people running the program, who could have chosen differently, but did not so so.

And you may quote me.



This is a disaster. Pure and simple.

The disaster is not just the fact that we have lost another expensive and much looked-forward-to unmanned mission. The disaster is the way this is being communicated.

And there is the potential for a much bigger disaster in the making: If Fobos-Grunt comes down in the next few weeks and the Cobalt-57 cells survive reentry, we may have another Kosmos 954 on our hands (depending on where it comes down).

The last thing space exploration needs right now is another "nuclear disaster". Yes, I know, there is very little risk. But just mention the "N" word to the press and watch the reactions...

Especially since there have been a whole series of high-profile uncontrolled re-entries in the past few months...
« Last Edit: 11/11/2011 11:18 AM by aquanaut99 »

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