Author Topic: What if the Cause of the Falcon 9 AMOS-6 Pad Failure is Never Uncovered  (Read 19180 times)

Offline gospacex

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I thought we pretty much flogged the thread on possible causes, so what if we are left with no direct cause for the failure and only a suspected probable cause as was in CRS-7? How will it impact, if any on the upcoming Commercial Crew flights?
Obvious question how many launch failures (in the last say 30 years) have ended up this way?

I'm not sure that has ever happened but assuming it did to a design did they retire the design? Fix highest probability root causes and RTF? Increase instrumentation on pad? On LV?

Normally when an LV explodes it's in flight and over the ocean. In this case it was right on the pad. SX have the ability to identify and recover nearly (because I'm sure some parts will still be missing) all of the vehicle and where those parts came down. They should have excellent telemetry from the vehicle and lots of on site video from various angles, most of which I doubt they will ever release.

And they "should" have multiple high-resolution, high-framerate videos of the explosion, which in this case would very likely shed the light on wtf has happened.

Well. It looks that they don't have that.

It's easy for us to post-factum assume SpaceX did not fail to think of all possible failures, and installed sensors for all needed data.

In reality, it's hard to predict every failure; and there are time, complexity and $$$$ constraints on how many sensors you want to install.
« Last Edit: 09/13/2016 04:16 pm by gospacex »

Offline whitelancer64

"Well. It looks that they don't have that."

What leads you to that conclusion?
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline catdlr

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"Well. It looks that they don't have that."

What leads you to that conclusion?

They must have, here is a sampling that SpaceX provide a while ago from apparently their own High Speed cameras:

Tony De La Rosa

Offline matthewkantar

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"Well. It looks that they don't have that."

What leads you to that conclusion?

They must have, here is a sampling that SpaceX provide a while ago from apparently their own High Speed cameras:



All of those clips are from flights. Is it possible they don't bother with cams on static fires?

Matthew

Offline JamesH65

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"Well. It looks that they don't have that."

What leads you to that conclusion?

They must have, here is a sampling that SpaceX provide a while ago from apparently their own High Speed cameras:



All of those clips are from flights. Is it possible they don't bother with cams on static fires?

Matthew

Quite. Static fires have no real PR value, so no real need for those sorts of cameras. Maybe that will change now. Do ULA have high speed camera watching every dress rehearsal they do? I know they don;t do static fires, but they must have some sort of testing prior to launch.

Offline sdsds

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I think the risk to other range users is only substantial when those users actually have vehicles at their pads. Were SpaceX to simply "try again" at VAFB it would seem reasonable for the range to require them to do so at a time when all other pads were empty. Is that much of a constraint these days?
-- sdsds --

Offline Rocket Science

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I'm really curious to see NASA's take on this if a direct cause is never found and the political impact on the Commercial Crew Program. IMHO from what I saw my sense was that Dragon would have been able to perform a pad abort with a well sorted EDS. Now the opponents on the HILL may see it differently, but it doesn't take much to set them off...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline JebK

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Quite. Static fires have no real PR value, so no real need for those sorts of cameras. Maybe that will change now. Do ULA have high speed camera watching every dress rehearsal they do? I know they don;t do static fires, but they must have some sort of testing prior to launch.

Also launch vehicles aren't expected to fail catastrophically 8 minutes before engine start (or 3 days before launch). Its 2016 not 1956.

Offline whitelancer64


Quite. Static fires have no real PR value, so no real need for those sorts of cameras. Maybe that will change now. Do ULA have high speed camera watching every dress rehearsal they do? I know they don;t do static fires, but they must have some sort of testing prior to launch.

Atlas V stopped doing WDRs in 2012 for all but high-value and interplanetary payloads.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Rocket Science

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Quite. Static fires have no real PR value, so no real need for those sorts of cameras. Maybe that will change now. Do ULA have high speed camera watching every dress rehearsal they do? I know they don;t do static fires, but they must have some sort of testing prior to launch.

Also launch vehicles aren't expected to fail catastrophically 8 minutes before engine start (or 3 days before launch). Its 2016 not 1956.
Sometimes it's not the launch system that fails, it's "the failure of imagination" that rears it's ugly head...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline JamesH65

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Quite. Static fires have no real PR value, so no real need for those sorts of cameras. Maybe that will change now. Do ULA have high speed camera watching every dress rehearsal they do? I know they don;t do static fires, but they must have some sort of testing prior to launch.

Also launch vehicles aren't expected to fail catastrophically 8 minutes before engine start (or 3 days before launch). Its 2016 not 1956.

Indeed. But you know, sometimes, s**t happens, despite every effort to ensure it doesn't. And in those cases, you suck it up, try and figure it out, and keep on pushing. You don't give up.

The rocket industry and satellite industry are always having failures. Antares, that Israel satellite, are both very recent. Hopefully, by 2050, failures will be a thing of the past, but when you work on the bleeding edge, sometimes, bad stuff happens.

Offline DaveH62

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Could they build a stropped down launch system in New Mexico or Texas and test fueling operations with one of the used Rockets? Part of the problem is they can't do full scale testing in Florida, where they put other pads at risk, or in Texas. Long term, if they really want to increase their speed, working on a full scale launch system and optimizing the full launch process seems almost necessary to hit the cadence they want. Short term, it seems like they need a way to recreate the issue, or prove it was an anomaly (if such a thing exists). The idea of getting approval to launch in VAFB or the Cape, seems unlikely, without root cause.

Offline Jim

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Quite. Static fires have no real PR value, so no real need for those sorts of cameras. Maybe that will change now. Do ULA have high speed camera watching every dress rehearsal they do? I know they don;t do static fires, but they must have some sort of testing prior to launch.

Also launch vehicles aren't expected to fail catastrophically 8 minutes before engine start (or 3 days before launch). Its 2016 not 1956.

Indeed. But you know, sometimes, s**t happens, despite every effort to ensure it doesn't. And in those cases, you suck it up, try and figure it out, and keep on pushing. You don't give up.

The rocket industry and satellite industry are always having failures. Antares, that Israel satellite, are both very recent. Hopefully, by 2050, failures will be a thing of the past, but when you work on the bleeding edge, sometimes, bad stuff happens.

No, there is no such thing as sucking it up.  You find the cause or probable causes and fix them

Offline tleski

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Could they build a stropped down launch system in New Mexico or Texas and test fueling operations with one of the used Rockets?
(...)

Depends what you mean by stripped down launch system. I am guessing it would take them some time to build a launch system (including TEL) in a new place and it would be really expensive. In McGregor, they at least have fueling infrastructure and are able to test second stages.
Only the first stage is recovered and the apparent problem was with the second stage, so I don't think using the "flight proven" first stage would help in any way.

Offline JamesH65

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Quite. Static fires have no real PR value, so no real need for those sorts of cameras. Maybe that will change now. Do ULA have high speed camera watching every dress rehearsal they do? I know they don;t do static fires, but they must have some sort of testing prior to launch.

Also launch vehicles aren't expected to fail catastrophically 8 minutes before engine start (or 3 days before launch). Its 2016 not 1956.

Indeed. But you know, sometimes, s**t happens, despite every effort to ensure it doesn't. And in those cases, you suck it up, try and figure it out, and keep on pushing. You don't give up.

The rocket industry and satellite industry are always having failures. Antares, that Israel satellite, are both very recent. Hopefully, by 2050, failures will be a thing of the past, but when you work on the bleeding edge, sometimes, bad stuff happens.

No, there is no such thing as sucking it up.  You find the cause or probable causes and fix them

Agreed. But the thread title is if they never find the find the cause. Does finding probable causes and fixing them count? They might not prove exactly want went wrong, but clearly they will fix anything they do find, that's just common sense. But if they are never 100% sure, they are indeed 'sucking it up', at least a little. In fact, you could say the amount of sucking up is 100 minus their confidence percentage that they found the cause!

Offline Rocket Science

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I'll let NASA be the final arbitrator of whether or not the cause is fully discovered, re-mediated and if they decide to let their crews fly on board. The rest would fall on what they deem as acceptable risk under the Commercial Crew Program...
« Last Edit: 09/16/2016 12:29 am by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline PhotoEngineer

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I know this is a "what if" thread but as someone who has worked flight vehicle failure analysis in the past, the chance of them not having an assignable cause at some point is slim to none.  There is a lot of data available and a lot of smart people working the problem.

Offline Rocket Science

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I know this is a "what if" thread but as someone who has worked flight vehicle failure analysis in the past, the chance of them not having an assignable cause at some point is slim to none.  There is a lot of data available and a lot of smart people working the problem.
I know what you are saying however; keep in mind that you are asking the same "smart people" to find the cause are the same "smart people" who allowed the problem to occur in the first place...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

Offline Lumina

I know this is a "what if" thread but as someone who has worked flight vehicle failure analysis in the past, the chance of them not having an assignable cause at some point is slim to none.  There is a lot of data available and a lot of smart people working the problem.
I know what you are saying however; keep in mind that you are asking the same "smart people" to find the cause are the same "smart people" who allowed the problem to occur in the first place...

True, but on the other hand 20/20 hindsight is much stronger than foresight. They will find it.

Offline Rocket Science

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I know this is a "what if" thread but as someone who has worked flight vehicle failure analysis in the past, the chance of them not having an assignable cause at some point is slim to none.  There is a lot of data available and a lot of smart people working the problem.
I know what you are saying however; keep in mind that you are asking the same "smart people" to find the cause are the same "smart people" who allowed the problem to occur in the first place...

True, but on the other hand 20/20 hindsight is much stronger than foresight. They will find it.
I know, I'm pulling for them...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob: Physics instructor, Aviator, Vintage auto racer

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