Author Topic: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread  (Read 267231 times)

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #40 on: 10/29/2014 02:32 PM »
Peter B. de Selding @pbdes
Orbital's Antares Cygnus mission carried $48 million in insurance coverage.

A quarter of one mission's costs......  ::)
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline Remes

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #41 on: 10/29/2014 02:32 PM »
Questions for the engine experts:

- I guess the turbopump can be disassembled, can they detect fissures inside components like the rotor or the housing?
- Can they/do they inspect every single channel in the corrugated design (optically)?
- Can they/do they check for deformation/overstress?
- Can they check for corrosion in inner parts (channel walls)
- If they X-Ray, how much can they tell about the strength of the components, the welds, etc?

I know all engines are hot-fired, but testing somemthing for x seconds doesn't mean it can't break apart at x+1 seconds, especially after shutdown/power up are extreme conditions.

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline Star One

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #43 on: 10/29/2014 02:34 PM »

Posting this over from the Cygnus update thread (as it clearly doesn't belong there). WRT future RD-180 use:

Orbital also has however many AJ-26 engines on their floor that they have paid for (albeit some likely have not yet been converted and/or tested). Then there's the associated plumbing and any rocket changes. And finally a part of the workforce that may have to stand down for some time (which always pains me).

That has to enter into the equation as to when they move onto the RD-180.
I'm not saying they won't consider it, but it would be a greater sunk cost to dump the engines at this stage.

I would think that they'll stick with what they have now, that it will be too costly to change but surely a move earlier to another engine must be on the table.

Offline veblen

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #44 on: 10/29/2014 02:35 PM »
look at the Glory & OCO fairing problem leading to LOMs. That's why Culberson can't and won't fudge in the accident investigation. Drilling down to get the root cause, as opposed to assumptions, is what they'll do, they've gone down this road before.


Curiously none of that is mentioned when you read wiki on OSC.

Offline wtrix

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #45 on: 10/29/2014 02:36 PM »
There was no fire on the rocket body at any point prior engine RUD. The plume coming from vented oxygen, fog and dropping ice just reflected the intense light below and saturated the sensor of the camera. This was due to the fact that it was night launch and getting a good light balance in those conditions is impossible unless one combines multiple images with different lighting.

Such trailing fog of vented oxygen and fog is normal to Antares and can be seen in all previous launches as can be seen here:

The rocket you can see actually burning after launch sometimes is Delta IV. In this case the insulation foam burns locally for a short period and then the flames get blown away.

Online starsilk

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #46 on: 10/29/2014 02:37 PM »

Kuznetsov reports that their engines were working properly......  ::) http://itar-tass.com/kosmos/1539681

difficult to be sure with the Google translation of that page - but I read that article as 'Americans modified the engines, we don't know/trust what they did to them' and 'our NK-33s are much safer'.

What is they say they would say that wouldn't they.

um? almost as bad as Google's Russian->English translation.

anyhow, my point was that the article doesn't seem to be saying 'the engines were working properly' but instead is saying 'our engines will work properly'

Offline yg1968

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #47 on: 10/29/2014 02:40 PM »
Peter B. de Selding @pbdes
Orbital's Antares Cygnus mission carried $48 million in insurance coverage.

A quarter of one mission's costs......  ::)

I imagine that they insured the cargo (not the rocket itself). I am not sure who pays for the damages to the pad. The state of Virginia?
« Last Edit: 10/29/2014 02:48 PM by yg1968 »

Offline bob the martian

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #48 on: 10/29/2014 02:48 PM »
My question is, is 2.1 (or whatever it is) seconds after lightoff enough time for the engines to be fully stabilized and considered "ready to fly"?

SpaceX holds the Falcon down for about a second or so, right?  If anything's obviously wrong with the engine that should be enough time for it to manifest.

Quote
For me, I sure would like to see another second or 2 on the pad before the rocket is let go...

Which may actually have been a bad thing in this case.  To my untrained eye it looks like the vehicle translated immediately after liftoff, so it didn't come straight back down onto the pad (the erector looked intact, etc.).  If it had blown up while still being held down, I think there would have been far worse damage to the pad structure itself. 

Unless a shutdown command could have been issued quickly enough to prevent the explosion; I don't know what's possible in that case.

Not that building a new rocket is easy, but it's got to be easier than building a new pad.

Quote
Have there been any photos released from the launch site since we're in daylight now?

I'm also curious to see the aftermath in the daylight.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #49 on: 10/29/2014 02:52 PM »
I keep reading that the rocket failed or even "exploded" only six seconds after liftoff.  I'm not sure where that came from.

When I ran the NASATV video  I counted 14 seconds between engine ignition and the first signs of failure (the sudden change in the exhaust appearance) and a tic longer until the fireball erupted from the base of the rocket.  That would be 12 seconds, at least, between actual liftoff and failure.  An additional roughly 10 seconds passed before ground impact.  That's the way I saw it, for what it is worth.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 10/29/2014 02:53 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline robertross

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #50 on: 10/29/2014 02:54 PM »
I keep reading that the rocket failed or even "exploded" only six seconds after liftoff.  I'm not sure where that came from.

When I ran the NASATV video  I counted 14 seconds between engine ignition and the first signs of failure (the sudden change in the exhaust appearance) and a tic longer until the fireball erupted from the base of the rocket.  That would be 12 seconds, at least, between actual liftoff and failure.  An additional roughly 10 seconds passed before ground impact.  That's the way I saw it, for what it is worth.

 - Ed Kyle

And IIRC, Frank noted (confirmed) that too in the presser

yes, here:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35939.msg1278576#msg1278576
« Last Edit: 10/29/2014 02:58 PM by robertross »
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Offline Norm38

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #51 on: 10/29/2014 02:56 PM »
An air burst at 300 feet would have done an enormous amount of damage.  Considering the rocket was not going to land anywhere populated, I can see why it would make sense to let it explode on contact with the ground.  If it's going to explode either way, choose the way that does less damage to infrastructure on the ground.

This doesn't make any sense to me.  The force of an explosion falls off logarithmically with distance.  If X amount of fuel/oxidizer is going to rapidly burn either way, isn't it better that occur further away from pad infrastructure?

Or is it that firing the FTS would lead to more thorough fuel/oxidizer mixing and a more efficient, more powerful detonation than just letting the tanks hit the ground and burn on the ground less mixed?

Offline yg1968

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Offline Joffan

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #53 on: 10/29/2014 03:01 PM »

Not that building a new rocket is easy, but it's got to be easier than building a new pad.


Depends on your use of "new". A new rocket to an existing design is straightforward; a new pad to an existing design takes longer but is also straightforward; a new design of pad is somewhat harder, and a new design of rocket is almost certainly hardest.
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Offline Kim Keller

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #54 on: 10/29/2014 03:03 PM »
I was going through every possible explanation for the lack of FTS visual evidence, other than "FTS failed".

How are FTS signals sent? If it's a narrow-beam microwave signal or something like that, could the vehicle's sudden descent moved it out of the transmission beam for a critical few moments until the antenna re-established a lock?

No. Ranges use fully steerable antennas which track the rocket, as well as omni antennas which radiate in all directions. The rocket did see the arm/destruct commands.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #55 on: 10/29/2014 03:04 PM »
An air burst at 300 feet would have done an enormous amount of damage.  Considering the rocket was not going to land anywhere populated, I can see why it would make sense to let it explode on contact with the ground.  If it's going to explode either way, choose the way that does less damage to infrastructure on the ground.

This doesn't make any sense to me.  The force of an explosion falls off logarithmically with distance.  If X amount of fuel/oxidizer is going to rapidly burn either way, isn't it better that occur further away from pad infrastructure?

Or is it that firing the FTS would lead to more thorough fuel/oxidizer mixing and a more efficient, more powerful detonation than just letting the tanks hit the ground and burn on the ground less mixed?
You would have to considerer the unknown trajectory waiting longer for public safety...
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Online rcoppola

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #56 on: 10/29/2014 03:09 PM »
An air burst at 300 feet would have done an enormous amount of damage.  Considering the rocket was not going to land anywhere populated, I can see why it would make sense to let it explode on contact with the ground.  If it's going to explode either way, choose the way that does less damage to infrastructure on the ground.

This doesn't make any sense to me.  The force of an explosion falls off logarithmically with distance.  If X amount of fuel/oxidizer is going to rapidly burn either way, isn't it better that occur further away from pad infrastructure?

Or is it that firing the FTS would lead to more thorough fuel/oxidizer mixing and a more efficient, more powerful detonation than just letting the tanks hit the ground and burn on the ground less mixed?
No expert here but it seems to me that it's the same concept of why they detonate Nukes a certain height above an area, not on impact. Anyway, if Antares exploded just above the pad as opposed to ground level ie. next to the pad, the entire area, all those fuel and oxygen tanks would have probably been covered with burning debris, exploded and wiped out the rest of the pad.

Either way, it's a mess on many levels. My positive thoughts are with all the dedicated, hard working men and women. This to shall pass.
« Last Edit: 10/29/2014 03:10 PM by rcoppola »
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Offline ddeflyer

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #57 on: 10/29/2014 03:10 PM »

While the root cause may be a propellant supply issue (feed line rupture leading to engine failure), given what we all know/the history of the engine, including Stennis, and what was observed by so many here, methinks starting the investigation at the back end of the rocket and moving forwards makes sense.
Again, my regards to the teams involved.  Spaceflight is indeed difficult:  human laws are easily (and regularly) broken.  Physics is a bit more demanding...

From what I understand of such investigations, they build a failure analysis tree. Basically they look at everything and eliminate what branches they know didn't go wrong. It might be silly, but you can be sure someone is going to look at the payload fairing and confirm it was still there and that it didn't send a wacky signal to other parts of the rocket, just like someone is going to look at the engines. Established practices are critical in a situation like this to make sure the root cause is determined and fully mitigated.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #58 on: 10/29/2014 03:11 PM »
Images and video of launch site from the air this morning. 

http://wavy.com/2014/10/29/raw-video-chopper-10-flies-over-nasa-rocket-launch-debris/

 - Ed Kyle

I am no expert but the damage in this video of the pad looks pretty bad. Any comments?

Offline WindnWar

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Re: Antares ORB-3 Failure Discussion Thread
« Reply #59 on: 10/29/2014 03:14 PM »
Looking at the chopper video of the area from this morning, what is the building to the right with what looks like tall bay doors? It's looks pretty torn up. Is that storage or something else. Looks like an older building.

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