Author Topic: MISSION FAILURE: Progress M-27M launch Soyuz-2-1A - April 28, 2015  (Read 343749 times)

Offline asmi

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Here is some info (in Russian) from a guy who apparently worked at the mission control.
Correction - he works there, not worked - head of TORU group and MCC-M ISS control room coordinator (according to his profile). He seems to be certain that 3rd stage is to blame for the event - either it exploded, or collided with the spacecraft, or both. Nothing was wrong with the spacecraft itself (except now it looks more like Swiss cheese after collision with/explosion of 3rd stage).
« Last Edit: 05/02/2015 06:49 AM by asmi »

Offline Remes

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11. Another attempt to stop the rotation using  "another collector" [a backup set of thrusters?]  was unsuccessful.
I guess this is the redundant second manifold he is talking about.

I just haven't been able to get any speculation that covers the whole set of data that we have.
How about this scenario:
- Malfunction in RD-0110 leads to higher power output than planned
- 3 seconds before staging overpowered RD-0110 leads to RUD
- RUD cuts of telemetry
- RUD leads to venting and/or explosion, which leads to a rotation of 3rd stage and Progress (there must have been some force for quite a while to create that angular momentum)
- staging occurs, 3rd stage hits Progress. Or staging can't fire all bolts and staging tears apart parts of Progress
- while staging/collision: demolition of Progress propulsion section, pressure vessels, ...
« Last Edit: 05/02/2015 08:31 AM by Remes »

Offline hrissan

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Here is some info (in Russian) from a guy who apparently worked at the mission control. Here is my translation:

Plain facts about the Progress M-27M spacecraft

1. Telemetry both from the launch vehicle and from the Progress spacecraft stopped 3 seconds before the spacecraft separation.

2. According to ground observations, Progress did separate from the the launch vehicle.

3. According to the sporadic telemetry received, two antennas didn't deploy and the onboard computer crashed. A decision to switch from the 4-orbit approach and docking maneuver to the traditional 2-day scheme was made.

4. According to "radio monitoring" of the orbit, the apogee was 40km higher than planned.

5. Launch vehicle experts from the Samara plant [which produces Soyuz rockets] reported to the investigative body that the orbital insertion was nominal and that the radio equipment used to determine the orbit parameters was faulty.

6. After the 2nd orbit, these launch vehicle experts admitted that they couldn't confirm the spacecraft separation due to the lack of telemetry, and the orbital data they reported earlier were based on the planned insertion orbit and not on actual spacecraft data.

7. After switching on the TV transmitter, it was determined that the Progress rotates at about 1 revolution per 3 seconds. This explains the sporadic telemetry reception.

8. NORAD detected a cloud of 44 fragments between the 3rd stage and the spacecraft.

9. The next day, an attempt was made to stop the spacecraft rotation. It wasn't successful - despite the fact that spacecraft thrusters did work. Experts came to the conclusion that fuel lines were damaged. [working thrusters with damaged fuel lines looks like a contradiction to me, but this is what the text says]

10. Switching the spacecraft to manual control was deemed pointless.

11. Another attempt to stop the rotation using  "another collector" [a backup set of thrusters?]  was unsuccessful.

12. The spacecraft is officially considered uncontrollable. The orbit is being monitored.

13. An uncontrolled reentry is expected between May 5 and 8.

14. That's the whole facts for now.
This guy leads TORU operation group in Baikonur, exams cosmonauts on manual spacecraft control :). He refers to the spacecraft as "we, ours" and launcher guys as "they".

And if you read his further comments:

Quote
Most likely 3rd stage exploded, "kicked ass" of the progress, punctured various systems with fragments.

We are tired to lose the spacecraft because someone did not do their job. It it the second time when 3d stage destroys the spacecraft.

"Every error has a family name", I'd start giving prison terms already.
Yeah he feels that sorry. :)

Online JimO

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Here is some info (in Russian) from a guy who apparently worked at the mission control. Here is my translation:

...

14. That's the whole facts for now.


Important and intriguing news, thank you.

It does leave unresolved the question of how much propellant remains on board. In this scenario, it seems most of it would have been unused, but how would much of it escape? Remember that fluid flow in these systems is pressure fed, punching a crack or hole in a tank is a very slow seepage process.

Offline Rocket Science

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Could RD-0110 have run to propellant starvation and suffered a bad shutdown as a result?

This is the nightmare scenario for any bi-prop system, where one prop stops feeding [several causes] while the other continues. It's why you have low-level sensors for the SSMEs. Ox-rich burn can be 'energetic' very rapidly.
Energetic as in RUD...
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Online cscott

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Here is some info (in Russian) from a guy who apparently worked at the mission control. Here is my translation:

Plain facts about the Progress M-27M spacecraft

1. Telemetry both from the launch vehicle and from the Progress spacecraft stopped 3 seconds before the spacecraft separation.

2. According to ground observations, Progress did separate from the the launch vehicle.

3. According to the sporadic telemetry received, two antennas didn't deploy and the onboard computer crashed. A decision to switch from the 4-orbit approach and docking maneuver to the traditional 2-day scheme was made.

4. According to "radio monitoring" of the orbit, the apogee was 40km higher than planned.

5. Launch vehicle experts from the Samara plant [which produces Soyuz rockets] reported to the investigative body that the orbital insertion was nominal and that the radio equipment used to determine the orbit parameters was faulty.

6. After the 2nd orbit, these launch vehicle experts admitted that they couldn't confirm the spacecraft separation due to the lack of telemetry, and the orbital data they reported earlier were based on the planned insertion orbit and not on actual spacecraft data.

7. After switching on the TV transmitter, it was determined that the Progress rotates at about 1 revolution per 3 seconds. This explains the sporadic telemetry reception.

8. NORAD detected a cloud of 44 fragments between the 3rd stage and the spacecraft.

9. The next day, an attempt was made to stop the spacecraft rotation. It wasn't successful - despite the fact that spacecraft thrusters did work. Experts came to the conclusion that fuel lines were damaged. [working thrusters with damaged fuel lines looks like a contradiction to me, but this is what the text says]

10. Switching the spacecraft to manual control was deemed pointless.

11. Another attempt to stop the rotation using  "another collector" [a backup set of thrusters?]  was unsuccessful.

12. The spacecraft is officially considered uncontrollable. The orbit is being monitored.

13. An uncontrolled reentry is expected between May 5 and 8.

14. That's the whole facts for now.
This guy leads TORU operation group in Baikonur, exams cosmonauts on manual spacecraft control :). He refers to the spacecraft as "we, ours" and launcher guys as "they".

And if you read his further comments:

Quote
Most likely 3rd stage exploded, "kicked ass" of the progress, punctured various systems with fragments.

We are tired to lose the spacecraft because someone did not do their job. It it the second time when 3d stage destroys the spacecraft.

"Every error has a family name", I'd start giving prison terms already.
Yeah he feels that sorry. :)
Can someone remind me what happened the first time the "3rd stage destroyed the spacecraft"?
« Last Edit: 05/02/2015 02:34 PM by cscott »

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Can someone remind me what happened the first time the "3rd stage destroyed the spacecraft"?

Progress M-12M in August 2011 - didn't even reach orbit because the 3rd stage engine failed.  ;)
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Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Progress M-12M in August 2011 - didn't even reach orbit because the 3rd stage engine failed.  ;)

Original thread is http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25702.0

Offline baldusi

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11. Another attempt to stop the rotation using  "another collector" [a backup set of thrusters?]  was unsuccessful.
I guess this is the redundant second manifold he is talking about.

I just haven't been able to get any speculation that covers the whole set of data that we have.
How about this scenario:
- Malfunction in RD-0110 leads to higher power output than planned
- 3 seconds before staging overpowered RD-0110 leads to RUD
- RUD cuts of telemetry
- RUD leads to venting and/or explosion, which leads to a rotation of 3rd stage and Progress (there must have been some force for quite a while to create that angular momentum)
- staging occurs, 3rd stage hits Progress. Or staging can't fire all bolts and staging tears apart parts of Progress
- while staging/collision: demolition of Progress propulsion section, pressure vessels, ...
Gas Generator's RUD is not that bad, and they would have had the whole Block-I tanks between the RD-0110 and the Progress. I could rather see something on the Soyzu-2.1a control system. If they had over run the engines a bit, the vibration could have generated a pipe dislocation. I rather see that the transient to engine shutdown was longer and might have generated a re contact. But is not quite a good fit, either.

Offline Carlos Bella

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This night, using the cameras of the Brazilian Meteor Observers Network (BRAMON) we successful record the passage of the Progress M-27M in the skies of the country's midwest. In all three cameras were used, one pointed to West (ID: MAD) and one to North (ID: MAD2). In this way we can capture the entire trajectory.

The average magnitude displayed was 0.5 but the flashes was the notable, with a period of 3.2 seconds. Existe a secondary maximum between two main maxima, this may indicate that the ship has its rotation axis almost parallel to the Earth's surface.

(in the second imagem the lower trace is an airplane)

Regards
Carlos
« Last Edit: 05/02/2015 07:31 PM by Carlos Bella »

Offline Danderman

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Gas Generator's RUD is not that bad, and they would have had the whole Block-I tanks between the RD-0110 and the Progress. I could rather see something on the Soyzu-2.1a control system. If they had over run the engines a bit, the vibration could have generated a pipe dislocation. I rather see that the transient to engine shutdown was longer and might have generated a re contact. But is not quite a good fit, either.

The fact that something went wrong with the third stage just before separation indicates that the Progress problems were probably caused by the performance of the third stage, and were not caused by a system within Progress.

Offline Danderman

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And now for something completely different:

The next issue is going to be whether the Soyuz booster is safe for a crewed launch.

My first answer is: sure, because Soyuz is designed so that if the PAO propulsion system fails at separation, the Soyuz descent module will re-enter very quickly.

However, a new failure mode seems to have emerged, where the third stage overperforms and then kills the PAO. In that case, as we are seeing, the spacecraft does not decay in two or three days, but rather 10 days, and the Soyuz life support system cannot maintain a 3 person crew for that long.

My recommendation would be to delay the next Soyuz crew launch, until another unmanned Soyuz launch is conducted, even if it means a 3 person crew at ISS for a month or two.

Offline Endeavour_01

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And now for something completely different:

The next issue is going to be whether the Soyuz booster is safe for a crewed launch.

My first answer is: sure, because Soyuz is designed so that if the PAO propulsion system fails at separation, the Soyuz descent module will re-enter very quickly.

However, a new failure mode seems to have emerged, where the third stage overperforms and then kills the PAO. In that case, as we are seeing, the spacecraft does not decay in two or three days, but rather 10 days, and the Soyuz life support system cannot maintain a 3 person crew for that long.

My recommendation would be to delay the next Soyuz crew launch, until another unmanned Soyuz launch is conducted, even if it means a 3 person crew at ISS for a month or two.

From what I understand the next crew is launching on a Soyuz FG, a different variant of the Soyuz rocket family. That said both Soyuz 2 and Soyuz FG share an RD-0110 engine in the upper stage so if the fault does lie with the engine manned launches may have to be suspended.
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Online DaveS

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My recommendation would be to delay the next Soyuz crew launch, until another unmanned Soyuz launch is conducted, even if it means a 3 person crew at ISS for a month or two.
There is a Soyuz 2-1A launch with a Kobalt M satellite on May 15, two days after the investigate commission is due to issue their preliminary report. I think it's safe to say that one will be delayed.
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Offline baldusi

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And now for something completely different:

The next issue is going to be whether the Soyuz booster is safe for a crewed launch.

My first answer is: sure, because Soyuz is designed so that if the PAO propulsion system fails at separation, the Soyuz descent module will re-enter very quickly.

However, a new failure mode seems to have emerged, where the third stage overperforms and then kills the PAO. In that case, as we are seeing, the spacecraft does not decay in two or three days, but rather 10 days, and the Soyuz life support system cannot maintain a 3 person crew for that long.

My recommendation would be to delay the next Soyuz crew launch, until another unmanned Soyuz launch is conducted, even if it means a 3 person crew at ISS for a month or two.

From what I understand the next crew is launching on a Soyuz FG, a different variant of the Soyuz rocket family. That said both Soyuz 2 and Soyuz FG share an RD-0110 engine in the upper stage so if the fault does lie with the engine manned launches may have to be suspended.
KBKhA has stated that the engine was run over specification. If they released that statement they must have the telemetry for that. First, it sound a lot more an avionics problem than an engine problem. And avionics is one of the differences between Soyuz-FG and Soyuz-2.1a. Let's remember that RD-01110 has 1,692 missions under its belt. The 2.1a avionics just 22.
I wouldn't launch a crew until I understand the issue at hand. It is a very rare occurrence what happened here. It's not that strange, since this were some 280 missions between Progress and Soyuz, and thus very strange failures tend to crop up when you do a lot of missions.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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My recommendation would be to delay the next Soyuz crew launch, until another unmanned Soyuz launch is conducted, even if it means a 3 person crew at ISS for a month or two.

There is a Soyuz 2-1A launch with a Kobalt M satellite on May 15, two days after the investigate commission is due to issue their preliminary report. I think it's safe to say that one will be delayed.

Not necessarily. It depends on how political it gets. The launcher may be 'deemed safe' for prestige reasons 'as the report's recommendations have already been applied in full'. Then it's anyone's guess if the satellite is properly delivered or just shredded.
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"Allowing the propagation to continue until decay, results in impact (10 km altitude) on 2015 May 09 near 07:40 UTC. The uncertainty is 30 h, based on the rule of thumb of 20 percent of the estimated time remaining to decay, measured from the epoch of the latter of the two TLEs."

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Offline smoliarm

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I'd like to ask some questions about orbit decay and re-entry position prediction - on the example of Progress M-27M:

Currently, Progress' orbit has perihelion at ~ 47 North
-- is it fair to say that re-entry occurs most likely at perihelion ?

During orbital decay, could perihelion drift significantly?

Offline sunbingfa

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Maybe someone has asked this: If this Progress was a crew launch of Soyuz (same upstage?), and same thing happened, what could the crew do differently to save themselves?
That may be crucial to determine whether the crew launch should be delayed.

Offline Joffan

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I'd like to ask some questions about orbit decay and re-entry position prediction - on the example of Progress M-27M:

Currently, Progress' orbit has perihelion at ~ 47 North
-- is it fair to say that re-entry occurs most likely at perihelion ?

During orbital decay, could perihelion drift significantly?

Actually "perigee", since the body being orbited is the Earth. But yes, the perigee will move as drag operates to advance the perigee around the orbit.
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