Author Topic: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011  (Read 105019 times)

Offline Namechange User

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #80 on: 12/23/2011 07:19 pm »
I'd say that the Russian space engineers are slowly being paid wages that are more in line with other industries, to attract those badly needed new engineers to replace the old generation. It must be a factor in cost increases.

You would say this without any evidence. When Roskosmos complains that aerospace workers in Russia are either very old, or very young, that's an indication that anyone who can get out into the real world to get a real job for real money already has, and what is left are the old codgers who are unemployable elsewhere, young people who can't get a real job yet, and a handful of middle-aged types angling for a job in top management.

In my experience in Russian aerospace, I have seen young secretaries leave their jobs for a real job in the real world at triple the salary.


Just out of curiosity, if you are now admitting this to be such a serious problem, why do you so often push for increased reliability on them and their systems?

Seems contradictory on its face as I read it, so just looking for some clarification from you if you feel so inclined.  Thanks in advance. 
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Offline Danderman

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #81 on: 12/23/2011 07:38 pm »
I'd say that the Russian space engineers are slowly being paid wages that are more in line with other industries, to attract those badly needed new engineers to replace the old generation. It must be a factor in cost increases.

You would say this without any evidence. When Roskosmos complains that aerospace workers in Russia are either very old, or very young, that's an indication that anyone who can get out into the real world to get a real job for real money already has, and what is left are the old codgers who are unemployable elsewhere, young people who can't get a real job yet, and a handful of middle-aged types angling for a job in top management.

In my experience in Russian aerospace, I have seen young secretaries leave their jobs for a real job in the real world at triple the salary.


Just out of curiosity, if you are now admitting this to be such a serious problem, why do you so often push for increased reliability on them and their systems?

Seems contradictory on its face as I read it, so just looking for some clarification from you if you feel so inclined.  Thanks in advance. 

You are confusing my position that the shuttle cancellation by Bush in 2004 was largely irreversible in 2009, and probably a good thing with supporting permanent reliance on the Russians for transport to ISS. Although I don't think that the Russian ISS transport system is unreliable, my position has been that NASA should pursue Commercial Crew Transportation as a high priority, even higher than SLS or JWST or whatever else NASA spends most of its disposable funding on.

I would bet money, however, that the Russians resolve this issue as quickly as the prior Soyuz-U failure, and that things get back to normal very soon.  Remember that the Russians have struggled with funding since ISS began in 1994, and yet the reliability of their system has been very good.


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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #82 on: 12/23/2011 07:46 pm »
 Rough calculations suggest the planned stage 3 orbit was around 50 x 200 km,
and actual was -2200 x 200, or about 0.9 km/s too low (+/- 0.2 km/s or so)
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Offline Namechange User

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #83 on: 12/23/2011 08:00 pm »
I'd say that the Russian space engineers are slowly being paid wages that are more in line with other industries, to attract those badly needed new engineers to replace the old generation. It must be a factor in cost increases.

You would say this without any evidence. When Roskosmos complains that aerospace workers in Russia are either very old, or very young, that's an indication that anyone who can get out into the real world to get a real job for real money already has, and what is left are the old codgers who are unemployable elsewhere, young people who can't get a real job yet, and a handful of middle-aged types angling for a job in top management.

In my experience in Russian aerospace, I have seen young secretaries leave their jobs for a real job in the real world at triple the salary.


Just out of curiosity, if you are now admitting this to be such a serious problem, why do you so often push for increased reliability on them and their systems?

Seems contradictory on its face as I read it, so just looking for some clarification from you if you feel so inclined.  Thanks in advance. 

You are confusing my position that the shuttle cancellation by Bush in 2004 was largely irreversible in 2009, and probably a good thing with supporting permanent reliance on the Russians for transport to ISS. Although I don't think that the Russian ISS transport system is unreliable, my position has been that NASA should pursue Commercial Crew Transportation as a high priority, even higher than SLS or JWST or whatever else NASA spends most of its disposable funding on.

I would bet money, however, that the Russians resolve this issue as quickly as the prior Soyuz-U failure, and that things get back to normal very soon.  Remember that the Russians have struggled with funding since ISS began in 1994, and yet the reliability of their system has been very good.



Ok, thanks for the clarification.  I guess I just remember statements about not needing commercial either, and we, the US, could just buy more Progress and Soyuz vehicles to make up the shortfall.  I also remember you pushing for us, the US, to fund development of a "super-Progress" or whatever if it came to that. 

Finally, I guess all I will say relative to this conversation, and will leave it at this, that if the problem is in workmanship, quality and is truly a systemic problem to the industry as a whole (which you disagreed with in the last thread about a Soyuz failure) and is what you are suggesting here now, that "getting back to normal quickly" is not as simple as you would suggest.  Obviously this thread exists because of another failure and presumably would not otherwise if it was so simple (and I doubt the Russians themselves would be saying such things as seemingly they have). 
« Last Edit: 12/23/2011 10:10 pm by OV-106 »
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Offline Prober

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #84 on: 12/23/2011 08:45 pm »
What does a rash of failures like this do to the launch insurance market?  I don't know a thing about how that market works (could be tied to the vehicles, or not...I don't know).

insurance could dry up or geat very expensive.

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #85 on: 12/23/2011 08:51 pm »
From Analoly Zak's site:
Quote
Latest update: According to industry sources, the analysis of available telemetry on the fuel line pressure before the entrance to the engine's injection system indicated a possible bulging of the combustion chamber No. 1, leading to its burn through and a catastrophic fuel leak.

OK, this came after I wrote my rant above.. so, if correct, issue isolated to the engine - or the fuel lines... root cause still could be design, manufacture, or fuel contamination

couldn't this also be a problem of SW conversion, from Analog to digital?
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Offline Chris Bergin

I've written up the failure, the presser, paraphrased some very useful notes from Jonathan and taken some of William Graham's 2.1b overview into this article:

Assessing the Soyuz failure with Meridian – Redressing Russia’s internal woes:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/12/assessing-soyuz-failure-meridian-5-redressing-russias-internal-woes/
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Offline Paul Howard

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #87 on: 12/23/2011 10:49 pm »
Thanks Chris, that's a really good article which covers the bases!

Offline woods170

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #88 on: 12/23/2011 10:54 pm »
Before this turns into a "the Russians have a big problem"-fest, let me put this failure in perspective, as someone here stated that those Soyuz failures are out of statistical failure rate. Well they are not:

- 1996: Two back to back Soyuz U failures within 5 weeks.
- 1990: Two Soyuz U failures within 3 months.
- 1988: Three Soyuz U failures within 4 months.
- 1987: Single Soyuz U failure.
- 1986: Single Soyuz U failure.
- 1982: Two Soyuz U failures within a month

And mind you, between the two Soyuz failures this year there was a series of 7 succesfull Soyuz launches.

Looking at the list the Russians were actually long over-due for a set of failures. The failures seen this year are well within the statistics for the Soyuz launcher.

Added note: the Soyuz FG descends directly from the Soyuz U.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2011 10:56 pm by woods170 »

Offline JimO

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #89 on: 12/23/2011 11:13 pm »
Before this turns into a "the Russians have a big problem"-fest, let me put this failure in perspective, as someone here stated that those Soyuz failures are out of statistical failure rate. Well they are not:

A helpful perspective, thanks.

How many of these were third stage failures during the burn? The occurrence of two of those, on similar [but not identical] stages is the nagging clue about a potential as-yet undiscovered common cause, even though it's always possible it IS a coincidence, as your data help us realize.

Offline JimO

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #90 on: 12/23/2011 11:15 pm »
"From today, the era of the Soyuz has started in manned spaceflight, the era of reliability".
                        - Roskosmos, July 21 2011 (@ end of STS)

I believe the quote was in Russian and I never saw it on the English-language section of the site -- correct me please if I missed it. That suggested to me it was aimed at a domestic feel-good audience, not a thumbing nose at Pindostan kind of taunt.

Still, it seems to have been MIGHTY bad karma....

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #91 on: 12/23/2011 11:20 pm »
This line of logic is interesting… So do we have a separate set of standards for U.S. launches and Russian launches? Acceptable failures… So this is a good thing for Russian Spaceflight?
I think I’m going to need more convincing, sorry guys…
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Offline Chris Bergin

Thanks Chris, that's a really good article which covers the bases!

Thanks Paul!
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Offline DFSL

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #93 on: 12/24/2011 12:28 am »
I still remember the day, back in the 80s, when my parents called me after elementary school to watch the reports about the loss of the crew of "Challenger". My mother was particularly sorry for the death of the "poor teacher" and the notice of the recovery of her remains. About 17 years later, I was paying attention myself when that fatal re-entry put an end to "Columbia".
I'm very concerned for the recent failures but I think it's necessary to put things in perspective. And I'm a little puzzled why relying on new, largely untested harware made by "private" ventures (Which so far seem dependant on public funding) is going to be the answer to reliability issues. But I understand it's a matter of national pride for the US... better to have your own failures than somebody's else, huh?

Offline Antares

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #94 on: 12/24/2011 12:40 am »
What does a rash of failures like this do to the launch insurance market?  I don't know a thing about how that market works (could be tied to the vehicles, or not...I don't know).

As recently as 2006-07, the launch insurance industry looked at any rocket failure as increasing risk for the whole market - mostly so the total capital and profit margins could be restored from the loss incurred.  However, both insurance companies and commercial satellite launch purchasers (either the satellite manufacturer or the end user depending on the contract) are now looking with more granularity at which vehicles are failing and commonality with others.

I can't keep track.  Were any of these Russian failures commercial?  That might raise rates for a while to replenish the capital.  I totally agree with the idea that it could make insurance for a Russian ride entirely unavailable.

The market is really aligning for SpaceX if it can complete the fairing and maintain Falcon production for all customers.
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Online Lee Jay

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #95 on: 12/24/2011 12:46 am »
The failures seen this year are well within the statistics for the Soyuz launcher.

Added note: the Soyuz FG descends directly from the Soyuz U.

I'm having a hard time with this.

The long term statistical failure rate is something like 2%.

This year, the failure rate has been either 22% or 33% depending on whether or not you count FG.

Yes, it's a smaller sample, but the statistical likelihood of having 2 or 3 failures in a batch of 9 randomly is really, really small if the underlying rate is only 0.02.

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Some interesting facts that I've seen:

1. This is the perspective from a spectator at the control center at Plesetsk:

Quote from: NK member Vladimir
I have observed the process as non-participant, but closely. According to reports from the range tracking, the two first stages worked fine. After T+288 the 3rd stage engine has begun burning. After the stack arrived within reach from Khimki, Fregat telemetry began coming through the antenna at Lavochkin. Before T+425 everything went normally. At this mark, the signal has significantly dropped in volume and the telemetry has shown the gyro-platform gymbal lock in 5 seconds, and this would only be possible if the stack had swayed by no less than 40 degrees. It could happen if the object has strongly tumbled. It seems to me, such dynamics can only follow an engine's explosion. I can't think of any other explanation.

2. Here's a set of photos shot from Yarovoyue (in the Altai region), 52.93N, 78.58E, that clearly shows the sudden shutdown of the rocket's third stage (in the first three photos), the disappearance of the kerosene "plume" that could usually be seen at dawn/dusk, and the rocket stage starting to burn up in the atmosphere (in the last few photos). Keep in mind that the launch was at 12:08 UTC, and the photos were shot between 12:15 and 12:19 UTC. The original link is here: http://www.astronomy.ru/forum/index.php/topic,18118.msg1786990.html#msg1786990
« Last Edit: 12/24/2011 02:02 am by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Rahkashi

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #97 on: 12/24/2011 12:54 am »
If the failure IS indeed traced back to the RD-0124, then is it possible that it is a manufacturing issue, considering we just had a "one-off" with an RD-0110?

Also, does anyone know when this RD-0124 was manufactured? If it's near 2009, then it may indeed be an manufacturing error.

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« Last Edit: 12/24/2011 01:01 am by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Danderman

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Re: FAILURE: Soyuz 2-1B - Meridian launch - December 23, 2011
« Reply #99 on: 12/24/2011 01:25 am »

I can't keep track.  Were any of these Russian failures commercial?  That might raise rates for a while to replenish the capital.  I totally agree with the idea that it could make insurance for a Russian ride entirely unavailable.


None of the Russian failures were insured by Western companies. The two Soyuz failures were self-insured (AFAIK), and the Proton failure was insured by a Russian company. None of these failures, therefore, had a direct impact on Western insurance companies.

Were any SpaceX launches commercially insured?

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