Author Topic: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues  (Read 15658 times)

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #20 on: 05/18/2015 04:59 PM »
@parabolicarc has a piece on the series of Russian launch failures over the last 6 years: http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/05/16/years-failure-haunt-russian-space-program/

There's a handy table listing the failures, attached for convenience.
Excellent and thank you for this. Puts it into better perspective. If anyone knows of other failures/issues that may belong on here please feel free to Photoshop them on.
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #21 on: 05/18/2015 05:05 PM »
I think this launch failure will have grave consequences for ILS / commerical launches on Proton and Soyuz.
The last commercial Proton launch contract I know is Eutelsat 9B 16 months ago (assuming that Gazprom Yamal-601 had not option 8) )

The failure rate for Soyuz/R-7 is 4.5% since 2010. For Proton it is 15% since 2010! This is bad even compared with other Russian launchers. Majority of failures mentioned above were on non-commercial flights. Major western launchers (Ariane V, Atlas V, F9, Delta 4) have almost flawless flight record in the same period. But SatMex-1 launch was insured for $390 million, if I remember correctly. That means that insurance rates for any Russian launches (and especially Proton) will have to be significantly higher. For example, 15% of $390 million equals $58.5 million. Assuming commercial price of Proton of $85 million, that almost covers the difference cost for Ariane V upper slot, or having a dedicated F9 rocket.

So probably commercial contracts on Proton are going to the history. Proton lost its low-cost advantage (to SpaceX), and is by far the most unreliable rocket around (which must hike up insurance rates a lot). Its only advantage is quicker availability. Last commercial contract I know of (Eutelsat 9B) was signed 16 months ago for launch in 2015. That leaves Turksat 4B, Yamal 601, Eutelsat 9B, Inmarsat 5 F3 in the pipeline and nothing else.
Morelos 3 and Centenario go to inclined orbits (around 15 deg I believe). Ironically, Ariane 5 5deg of inclination would have needed a plane change on the other direction. This is why they went with Proton-M/Briz-M and Atlas V. Bicenternario (the GEO one), did in fact, flew on Araine 5.
The Mexican government appears not to quite understand the schedule fluidity of the space business, you'd be quite surprised to see the level of lawsuit threat that went to Ariane 5 because they were a couple of months late to launch. I will take a guess and say that if they order a replacement (which they should), then they will go with either Atlas V or Falcon 9/FH.
But that's why Proton-M got the Centenario contract, the Mexicans were spreading their risk and needed an inclined orbit. SpaceX and Arianespace are booked solid to 2017/8, so, this failure on Proton might actually allow Atlas V or even H-2A to win a few other launches.
I do see a vicious cycle on Proton, little to no ILS launches means less economies of scale, less practice for the team, less commercial pressure to perform, and until they prove themselves back, I don't expect anything but Russian and allies payloads. And that means a lot less revenue for Krunischev. Which means more human resourses drainage, etc.
I do see an opportunity for Angara, but they lack a launch pad at Voistochny. And given the speed of advance of the Soyuz pad, they'll be lucky to get them by 2020. Unless they can make some arrangement with Brazil for Angara, I see the bulk of commercial coming back to the West for the next five to seven years.
Any idea if there are any spare Atlas V cores that are not slated for a mission already? Otherwise that might be delta winning those. The alternative is SpaceX somehow ramps up core production to try and win extra contracts...but I don't think they would do that. Regarding Atlas V cores maybe Jim could answer that. Barring spare cores these contracts would have to wait for NGLS

Otherwise I agree, it seems to me Roscosmos needs to conduct an overhaul of the supply chain/quality control.
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Offline aga

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #22 on: 05/18/2015 05:06 PM »
just to add a few more info/details:

I don't believe that an 8.39% failure rate overall or a 3.62% failure rate on Soyuz are acceptable for crew.

the version launching crew (soyuz-fg) is 100% so far (in something like 50 launches, basically the same as atlas 5)

Excellent and thank you for this. Puts it into better perspective. If anyone knows of other failures/issues that may belong on here please feel free to Photoshop them on.

no, it does not... at least not completely... if you want to have it in better perspective, you need to account for the number of launches performed... especially for soyuz that is quite a lot (i counted 89 since 2010)
« Last Edit: 05/18/2015 05:07 PM by aga »
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Offline baldusi

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #23 on: 05/18/2015 05:12 PM »
Any idea if there are any spare Atlas V cores that are not slated for a mission already? Otherwise that might be delta winning those. The alternative is SpaceX somehow ramps up core production to try and win extra contracts...but I don't think they would do that. Regarding Atlas V cores maybe Jim could answer that. Barring spare cores these contracts would have to wait for NGLS

Otherwise I agree, it seems to me Roscosmos needs to conduct an overhaul of the supply chain/quality control.
I don't believe that LV will be the long pole. Mexican government has to get the insurance payment, order a new satellite, and it has to be built. If they had contingency plans (which I assume they did, since this was a military payload), they might order the S/C in six months, plus another 36 (really minimum) for delivery, you are talking about a 2019 launch, which should be a lot easier on the manifest since it coincides with a dip on DoD launches.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2015 05:20 PM by baldusi »

Offline notsorandom

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #24 on: 05/18/2015 05:54 PM »
@parabolicarc has a piece on the series of Russian launch failures over the last 6 years: http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/05/16/years-failure-haunt-russian-space-program/

There's a handy table listing the failures, attached for convenience.
Excellent and thank you for this. Puts it into better perspective. If anyone knows of other failures/issues that may belong on here please feel free to Photoshop them on.
I'm not sure Phobos-Grunt should be on the list of launcher failures. The Zenit worked flawlessly to get the craft in orbit. The autonomous main propulsion unit derived from the Fregat failed to fire which was a problem with the spacecraft and not the rocket.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #25 on: 05/18/2015 06:41 PM »
There are obviously multiple things being discussed, here.  But to focus on this most recent failure of MexSat, it occurs to me that this is, what, the third BRIZ-M stage that has failed in the past two years?

I don't think these ought to be considered Proton failures as much as they should be considered BRIZ-M failures.  And while the upper stage has worked properly several times, it seems to have considerable issues.  The failure rate of BRIZ-M seems to be indicative of a specific problem with that stage, be it in design, manufacture or flight preparation.

What kind of info do we have on this stage in specific, in terms of design and manufacture, especially, that could help us understand what might be happening with it?  For example (and I admit, I'm not up on the manufacturing histories of Russian rocket stages), if the stages were built (all or in part) in the Ukraine, that makes for a far different conversation than if it's been designed and manufactured elsewhere.

And, for reassurance of those concerned about ISS crews, is there any commonality at all between the Soyuz launch vehicle design/manufacturer and that of the BRIZ-M?

I figure that, if problems can be tracked to a given facility or design bureau, it could be beneficial in figuring out the total impact and where we all go from here.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #26 on: 05/18/2015 06:42 PM »
@the_other_Doug,

The BRIZ-M didn't fail here - it was apparently the Proton's third stage. The BRIZ quite possibly didn't even get as far as free flight.
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Online Lars-J

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #27 on: 05/18/2015 07:54 PM »
Yes, for the Nth time.... Proton-M is a FOUR stage rocket. 3 stages plus Briz-M.

And while there is no direct hardware link between A) proton failures, B) Soyuz failures, and C) spacecraft failures - there does seem to be a trend of declining quality control in Russian aerospace.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2015 07:56 PM by Lars-J »

Offline dkovacic

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #28 on: 05/18/2015 08:23 PM »
Yes, but Proton failure rate is three times Soyuz failure rate in recent years. Without Proton, Russian failure rate is around 95%.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #29 on: 05/18/2015 10:02 PM »
Yes, for the Nth time.... Proton-M is a FOUR stage rocket. 3 stages plus Briz-M.

And while there is no direct hardware link between A) proton failures, B) Soyuz failures, and C) spacecraft failures - there does seem to be a trend of declining quality control in Russian aerospace.

That is the failure mechanism that touches all vehicles.  We cannot isolate it to this piece of hardware or that because the system of failure analysis is broken -- industry leadership, and National leadership, are not finding and fixing the real problems, they are just scape-goating and white-washing the failures so that the launch tempo (and cash flow) can continue. 

This is a deep, systemic flaw -- calling it anything else is lipstick on a pig.
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Online edkyle99

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #30 on: 05/18/2015 11:03 PM »
@parabolicarc has a piece on the series of Russian launch failures over the last 6 years: http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/05/16/years-failure-haunt-russian-space-program/

There's a handy table listing the failures, attached for convenience.
Excellent and thank you for this. Puts it into better perspective. If anyone knows of other failures/issues that may belong on here please feel free to Photoshop them on.
Proton M/Briz M launched with Ekspress AM6 on October 21, 2014.  The fourth Briz M burn cut off 24 seconds early, leaving the satellite about 50 meters/second short of the planned velocity.  Ekspress AM6 spent a bit of its delta-v budget to make up the difference, but is now in its planned orbit.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline MechE31

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #31 on: 05/19/2015 01:04 AM »
Any idea if there are any spare Atlas V cores that are not slated for a mission already? Otherwise that might be delta winning those. The alternative is SpaceX somehow ramps up core production to try and win extra contracts...but I don't think they would do that. Regarding Atlas V cores maybe Jim could answer that. Barring spare cores these contracts would have to wait for NGLS

Otherwise I agree, it seems to me Roscosmos needs to conduct an overhaul of the supply chain/quality control.
I don't believe that LV will be the long pole. Mexican government has to get the insurance payment, order a new satellite, and it has to be built. If they had contingency plans (which I assume they did, since this was a military payload), they might order the S/C in six months, plus another 36 (really minimum) for delivery, you are talking about a 2019 launch, which should be a lot easier on the manifest since it coincides with a dip on DoD launches.

They may have a very similar SkyTerra-2 satellite in storage from the bankrupt LightSquared. While there is conflicting info on it, I know that 4 total satellites were built, and that there was talk when the Mexsat contract was signed of re-purposing SkyTerra-2, it didn't happen.

If it did exist, it would still require work, but could most likely be turned in about 6 months.

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #32 on: 05/19/2015 02:27 AM »
Well from what I read on the Russian forums it seems that not only the companies still don't have adequate QA procedures (at least for the likes of Khrunichev), the mechanics are still very underpaid (even with a little improvement for the past few years) such that I wouldn't be surprised that the wage is lower than those of aircraft/train mechanics, while the management take all the rubles.

I would be interested to see how many QA procedures do the Russians do today. It's interesting to see that the other major spaceflight player that used to be lacking QA - the Chinese - learned the lesson after a string of big failures in the 1990s, which forced them to adopt. While not the top performer they now have a more or less robust spaceflight reliability (rockets, satellites) record.
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #33 on: 05/19/2015 04:29 AM »
Any idea if there are any spare Atlas V cores that are not slated for a mission already? Otherwise that might be delta winning those. The alternative is SpaceX somehow ramps up core production to try and win extra contracts...but I don't think they would do that. Regarding Atlas V cores maybe Jim could answer that. Barring spare cores these contracts would have to wait for NGLS

Otherwise I agree, it seems to me Roscosmos needs to conduct an overhaul of the supply chain/quality control.
I don't believe that LV will be the long pole. Mexican government has to get the insurance payment, order a new satellite, and it has to be built. If they had contingency plans (which I assume they did, since this was a military payload), they might order the S/C in six months, plus another 36 (really minimum) for delivery, you are talking about a 2019 launch, which should be a lot easier on the manifest since it coincides with a dip on DoD launches.

They may have a very similar SkyTerra-2 satellite in storage from the bankrupt LightSquared. While there is conflicting info on it, I know that 4 total satellites were built, and that there was talk when the Mexsat contract was signed of re-purposing SkyTerra-2, it didn't happen.

If it did exist, it would still require work, but could most likely be turned in about 6 months.

If they were willing to wait for a new satellite the first time around when re-purposing SkyTerra-2 was an option, I doubt they would go with a re-purposed SkyTerra-2 this time around.  They'd have to have some kind of time-critical need that was more pressing now than it was back when they started to make them make a different decision, and I doubt that's the case.

Offline aga

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #34 on: 05/19/2015 08:17 AM »
Yes, for the Nth time.... Proton-M is a FOUR stage rocket. 3 stages plus Briz-M.

that is not true...
there are proton-m launches with different upper stages - eg. block-dm (2 and/or 3)...
there are even planned proton-m launches without any upper stage (in the 3 stage config)
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #35 on: 05/19/2015 08:27 AM »
Yes, for the Nth time.... Proton-M is a FOUR stage rocket. 3 stages plus Briz-M.

that is not true...
there are proton-m launches with different upper stages - eg. block-dm (2 and/or 3)...
there are even planned proton-m launches without any upper stage (in the 3 stage config)

It doesn't really affect Lars' point that there are alternate configurations that don't use a Briz-M stage -- he was responding to someone who thought the Briz-M was the third stage, which, I believe, is never the case with Proton-M.

Offline aga

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #36 on: 05/19/2015 08:35 AM »
It doesn't really affect Lars' point that there are alternate configurations that don't use a Briz-M stage -- he was responding to someone who thought the Briz-M was the third stage, which, I believe, is never the case with Proton-M.

yes, that is correct... briz-m is not the third stage...

but that does not change the fact that what he wrote is not true:
proton-m is not a four stage rocket - it is a three stage rocket that can use an upper stage (can be briz-m or can be other)... or can fly without any upper stage
« Last Edit: 05/19/2015 08:38 AM by aga »
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Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #37 on: 05/19/2015 08:52 AM »
Pardon me, but shouldn't "Krunichev" be spelt "Khrunichev"? Not being a pedant, I'm genuinely curious.

Who runs Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre nowadays? Google isn't making it immediately obvious. Who's the grey man in the black suit?

Edit: Nevermind, found it: Andrey Kalinovsky, acting CEO.

I wonder how much of an incentive he has to reshuffle things at Khrunichev. If Khrunichev keeps pushing out failed launches, there won't be any more launch money for people to siphon off.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2015 08:55 AM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #38 on: 05/19/2015 09:20 AM »
I wonder how much of an incentive he has to reshuffle things at Khrunichev. If Khrunichev keeps pushing out failed launches, there won't be any more launch money for people to siphon off.

The problem is that the first instinct seems always to be to scapegoat and I don't think that their system allows for them to identify and remedy true root causes that are not immediately obvious. They can identify and patch obvious production issues and individual personnel lapses very well. However, the deeper cultural malaise and lack of check-points to identify faults during the production process may literally be something that it is impossible for what is essentially a politically-controlled and -managed operation to recognise and remedy.
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Recent Failures/Krunichev Processing issues
« Reply #39 on: 05/19/2015 11:54 AM »
I wonder how much of an incentive he has to reshuffle things at Khrunichev. If Khrunichev keeps pushing out failed launches, there won't be any more launch money for people to siphon off.

The problem is that the first instinct seems always to be to scapegoat and I don't think that their system allows for them to identify and remedy true root causes that are not immediately obvious. They can identify and patch obvious production issues and individual personnel lapses very well. However, the deeper cultural malaise and lack of check-points to identify faults during the production process may literally be something that it is impossible for what is essentially a politically-controlled and -managed operation to recognise and remedy.
I agree Ben and that's what I meant on the original failure thread when they really need a “Chief Designer” such as Korolev who by expertise and force of will could reorganize and regroup Russian spaceflight. What we have is an oligarch running the program who is more interested in taking profits out of it rather than putting investment in to it... If they don’t it will become the space equivalent of what the “Lada” was in the auto industry...
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