Author Topic: MISSION FAILURE: Progress M-27M launch – Soyuz-2-1A - April 28, 2015  (Read 335825 times)

Offline Rebel44

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Since its tumbling likely results in low power from solar panels, is it possible, that Soyuz already run out of battery power?

Offline Rocket Science

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That's clearly not the point that was made. If there's a problem with the next Dragon, then Dragon is stood down. That's the problem....not the vehicle failing to arrive, but the vehicle being stuck on the ground for a lengthy period of time before being able to launch again.

Exactly - the crew is fine now, and would be for a good few months even in the event of a Dragon failure, but if Dragon/F9 failed and had to be stood down for a number of months, and Cygnus RTF got delayed (which I suspect it will - since when does anything go to schedule in this business), then that will leave only one HTV to resupply ISS for rest of year. Even with Progress flying, that would make things tight.

Essentially, what I'm saying is that ISS is now zero fault tolerant to another resupply craft failure - with ATV gone, Cygnus' failure last year, today's Progress failure, and only one HTV this year, a Dragon failure would essentially cut ISS' regular supply line to Earth. If they couldn't get it back quickly, that would be the issue.
A case perhaps for Dream Chaser Cargo...?

I think this worry is overblown.  Lets say Dragon does fail.  No big deal, just keep flying Dragon and/or Progress anyway, while the investigation is continuing.  You wouldn't want to do that with crew, but they're carrying bulk supplies to ISS, so even before you've found and fixed the root cause of the failure, just keep flying.  There will be a higher risk, but that's OK.  Both Dragon and Progress have successfully completed a number of missions, so they don't have some fundamental design flaw that makes them very likely to fail.  The failures might have been one-off things, or some design flaw that gives a low chance of failure on each flight.  No problem.  The less likely case is there was some recent change that makes all subsequent flights fail.  Keep flying both Dragon and Progress and it's unlikely both will have a string of failures.  And if they do, just figure out what changed recently and revert that change.  That's much faster than having to be very certain of a root cause, as one would have to do before flying a crew again after a failure.
My comment was not intended to be a slight against Dragon or Progress but only a change in mindset for the upcoming CRS2 contract. With all its brilliant accomplishments NASA has in the past suffered from a “failure of imagination” in seeing potential "big picture" setbacks...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline Liss

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TsUP may decide to de-orbit (today?) Progress if they fail to take control of the cargoship.
http://www.interfax.ru/russia/439173

How can they de-orbit if they can't get its attitude under control?
Good question. At least they can try.
It's just less risky than trying to rendezvous and dock. So there is a room for spacecraft status where docking is prohibited but a deorbit attempt is possible.
This message reflects my personal opinion based on open sources of information.

Online litton4

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TsUP may decide to de-orbit (today?) Progress if they fail to take control of the cargoship.
http://www.interfax.ru/russia/439173

How can they de-orbit if they can't get its attitude under control?
Good question. At least they can try.
It's just less risky than trying to rendezvous and dock. So there is a room for spacecraft status where docking is prohibited but a deorbit attempt is possible.

Plus they can have some measure of control on where it comes down, rather than having the chance of it hitting a populated area.

Also, with regard to "just refly", this assumes that the fault was a random failure.
If it has been caused by a manufacturing defect, who is to say that the next one off the production line won't have the same defect (eg FOD contamination, or a batch of out of spec components)?
If M-27M makes an uncontrolled re-entry into an unpopulated area, who can say if the next one will do the same?
Dave Condliffe

Offline woods170

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However, what this issue highlights is the vulnerability of ISS resupply even when it has multiple different launch methods in service. People always said that getting rid of ATV was a bad idea, because it leaves ISS vulnerable to the failure of another launcher/vehicle.

Unfortunately for you, NASA never agreed with your analysis. Nine years ago (2006) NASA was informed that ATV would stop after ATV-5. NASA never even bothered to ask ESA for an extension. Reality didn't begin to set in until six years later. It was 2012 when NASA began negotiations with JAXA for additional HTV's.

Offline ChrisWilson68

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TsUP may decide to de-orbit (today?) Progress if they fail to take control of the cargoship.
http://www.interfax.ru/russia/439173

How can they de-orbit if they can't get its attitude under control?
Good question. At least they can try.
It's just less risky than trying to rendezvous and dock. So there is a room for spacecraft status where docking is prohibited but a deorbit attempt is possible.

Plus they can have some measure of control on where it comes down, rather than having the chance of it hitting a populated area.

How much control do they have if they can't get it to stop uncontrolled rotation?  Fire up the main engine and hope it spirals in as they hope?

Also, with regard to "just refly", this assumes that the fault was a random failure.
If it has been caused by a manufacturing defect, who is to say that the next one off the production line won't have the same defect (eg FOD contamination, or a batch of out of spec components)?
If M-27M makes an uncontrolled re-entry into an unpopulated area, who can say if the next one will do the same?

"Just refly" for the the hypothetical case where Dragon also had a failure in the near term.  I don't think anyone is suggesting reflying before an investigation is complete as long as there is an alternative.  But if all the alternatives have had accidents, continuing to fly one or more of them while the investigation is ongoing might be an acceptable alternative to having to abandon ISS.

Offline Danderman

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Since its tumbling likely results in low power from solar panels, is it possible, that Soyuz already run out of battery power?

Not only possible, but probable. If Progress has not run out of power, it would be because some key systems never turned on,

Offline Danderman

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Also, with regard to "just refly", this assumes that the fault was a random failure.
If it has been caused by a manufacturing defect, who is to say that the next one off the production line won't have the same defect (eg FOD contamination, or a batch of out of spec components)?
If M-27M makes an uncontrolled re-entry into an unpopulated area, who can say if the next one will do the same?

That's why a program has rules as a spacecraft has flight rules.

The people who planned ISS decided a long time ago that the risk of a 45 day turnaround for Progress was lesser than the risk of flying ISS without the next Progress flying.

Now, if the Russians don't have the resources to perform the 45 day turnaround, that is another story.

Offline Danderman

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If TsUP has the ability to command a de-orbit burn, then that same capability could be used to salvage the Progress. In either case, the vehicle needs to be stabilized.

I suspect that the quote about commanding a de-orbit was intended to create the impression that a natural decay was actually a plan. Or, a translation error.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Has an updated likely decay date/time reached the public sphere, either from private or Roscosmos sources?

FWIW, this looks like an LOV situation, primarily because of the battery recharge issue. They only have so much time to correct the fault before that window closes and I suspect that it already has.

To me, the lesson is that having only uplink/downlink for these missions when in range of Russian ground and sea stations is not a sustainable policy. An option to use TDRSS and ISS alliance ground stations should be available so that continual attempts to regain contact can be made in these scenarios. An LOV for the ISS program, no matter how non-critical, due to pride or politics is just simply not an acceptable state of affairs.
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Offline Ronpur50

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Even if control is established and the Progress can make it to ISS, what would all of the rotation have done to the cargo?  Is the rotation rate severe enough to damage anything on board?

Online DaveS

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According to to this Interfax report ( http://www.interfax.ru/russia/439251 ), decay window is between May 7 and May 11.
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Online DaveS

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Now this is an interesting report, again from Interfax: http://www.interfax.ru/world/439233

I'll post the most interesting bit translated: "Earlier, the US Air Force Space Command based on "Vandenberg" in California gave the 44 fragments in orbit near the cargo ship "Progress M-27M" and the third-stage rocket "Soyuz-2.1a"

However, the space center on the basis of "Vandenberg" can not yet confirm whether the fragments belong to the "progress" and the third stage of the rocket."
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline chewi

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Now this is an interesting report, again from Interfax: http://www.interfax.ru/world/439233

I'll post the most interesting bit translated: "Earlier, the US Air Force Space Command based on "Vandenberg" in California gave the 44 fragments in orbit near the cargo ship "Progress M-27M" and the third-stage rocket "Soyuz-2.1a"

However, the space center on the basis of "Vandenberg" can not yet confirm whether the fragments belong to the "progress" and the third stage of the rocket."

Also here in english: http://www.satnews.com/story.php?number=1840676647

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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I'm pretty sure that the Russian mission controllers are most angry about the loss of telemetry. As Dave S's post above shows, the post-LOV investigation is going to have to rely an awful lot on ambiguous remote sensing results and educated guesswork by people familiar with the engineering of the vehicles in question.

The objective will be, of course, to ensure that probability of this failure is minimised. Unfortunately, that is always made more difficult for space engineers by the fact that there is too often no clear physical evidence to investigate.

FWIW, if Space Command's report is verified, the probability is high that either the Soyuz U/S or the Progress suffered some kind of catastrophic rupture. My guess, based purely on this thread, is that it was probably of the Progress's propellent tanks during pressurisation. The likelihood that the two vehicles would have been inserted into an orbit precisely matching that of a pre-existing debris cloud is so remote as to be nearly-unthinkable.
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Offline Jarnis

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Now this is an interesting report, again from Interfax: http://www.interfax.ru/world/439233

I'll post the most interesting bit translated: "Earlier, the US Air Force Space Command based on "Vandenberg" in California gave the 44 fragments in orbit near the cargo ship "Progress M-27M" and the third-stage rocket "Soyuz-2.1a"


Well that's not good. So either a collision resulting in debris, or something going kaboom onboard one of the vehicles and distributing debris. At this point I'd say the fat lady is singing and this Progress is almost certainly a goner.


Offline rds100

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The lack of telemetry from the progress could be explained by the rotation (telemetry antenna pointing in the wrong direction).
But what about telemetry from the rocket's third stage? Was there any? What did it show? Was everything nominal?


Offline Mapperuo

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Question I have, It is guessed they cannot get a telemetry lock due to the rotation, but when we got onboard video, it was a pretty good signal as it rotated? Different antenna I guess.

- Aaron

Offline saliva_sweet

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I'm pretty sure that the Russian mission controllers are most angry about the loss of telemetry.

I believe they have full telemetry of the critical events: the 3rd stage shutdown and separation. Most probably there was a collision between progress and the still thrusting stage. I think this was basically a launch failure.

Offline Danderman

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Someone asked earlier about the radio capabilities at Wallops that serve ISS, wondering whether they could be used in rescuing this Progress.  Unfortunately, the Wallops systems are for voice only.

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