Author Topic: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION  (Read 407941 times)

Online woods170

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #860 on: 01/09/2018 08:16 AM »
On the US Launch Report video, fairing separation is visible

At 3:24?

Yes, and it is right on time.

Press kit says "Fairing Deployment" at 3:08 mission elapsed time.
Launch occurs at 0:15 into the video.
Add 3:08 to that and you get 3:23 mission elapsed time.

At 3:24 (only a second later) we see the fairing fall past the S2. So, looks like fairing separation was right on time.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 08:17 AM by woods170 »

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #861 on: 01/09/2018 08:20 AM »
So, just throwing this out there: What if the speculation about a hypersonic re-entry test vehicle is true? If so, then the 'LEO target orbit' was misinformation and everything went as planned.

While it would be tempting to speculate that, it wouldn't explain why congresspeople are being told Zuma failed. I think this explains the multitude of confused and conflicting reports from sources that appear to not really know what they are talking about regarding a highly secret mission.

That's something I've been thinking about. The Congresspersons aren't saying it failed, their staffers are. They heard part of a conversation about Zuma coincidentally reaching interface at the same time as the Falcon 9 upper stage did at a different location and, assuming without knowledge that Zuma was a satellite, they concluded that this meant the mission had failed.

In the fine tradition of Washington DC, this partial information has become accepted fact and has been repeated to Mr Pasztor from multiple persons all based on this initial single incorrectly-overheard conversation. As it is in DARPA and the DoD's best interests to have as much disinformation and uncertainty as possible in the air about the project, no-one is interested in correcting this beyond quiet assurances that Falcon-9 performed properly.
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Offline DJPledger

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #862 on: 01/09/2018 08:28 AM »
Please stop speculating about Zuma. No one is going to say anything about it. If SpaceX's upcoming launches are not put on hold then we will know it was not SpaceX's fault.

Online Semmel

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #863 on: 01/09/2018 08:51 AM »
Marco Langbroek notes in New Zuma orbit estimates
Quote
The sightings of the Falcon 9 upper stage from the Zuma launch venting fuel over East Africa some 2h 15m after launch, suggests that Zuma might be in a higher orbit than in my pre-launch estimate. Rather than ~400 km it might be ~900-1000 km.
<snip>
If correct, this means Zuma might become observable in the N hemisphere about a week from now.

Amateur sat trackers are the only viable source of information beyond the launch and the confirmation by SpaceX that F9 performed nominally. There is no other independent source of information. Lets wait a week and see what we see.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 09:03 PM by Semmel »

Offline vanoord

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #864 on: 01/09/2018 08:57 AM »
That's something I've been thinking about. The Congresspersons aren't saying it failed, their staffers are. They heard part of a conversation about Zuma coincidentally reaching interface at the same time as the Falcon 9 upper stage did at a different location and, assuming without knowledge that Zuma was a satellite, they concluded that this meant the mission had failed.

In the fine tradition of Washington DC, this partial information has become accepted fact and has been repeated to Mr Pasztor from multiple persons all based on this initial single incorrectly-overheard conversation. As it is in DARPA and the DoD's best interests to have as much disinformation and uncertainty as possible in the air about the project, no-one is interested in correcting this beyond quiet assurances that Falcon-9 performed properly.

Quite possible for staffers to be purposefully misleading if their motivation is to improve the chances of SpaceX's competitors gaining future launch contracts.

And arguably more likely than deliberately leaking classified information, something that could result in severe sanctions.

Either way, given the nature of the mission, the full details are unlikely to be known - so the SpaceX statement that the rocket's performance was nominal is the most we're ever likely to have.

Unless, of course, the satellite gets observed.

Offline Jet Black

As it is in DARPA and the DoD's best interests to have as much disinformation and uncertainty as possible in the air about the project, no-one is interested in correcting this beyond quiet assurances that Falcon-9 performed properly.

This is basically the summary of everything we need to know, to be honest. SpaceX did their job as contracted and at the end of the day, that is all the other customers care about. We aren't going to find out anything about that payload.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. -- Richard Feynman

Offline vanoord

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #866 on: 01/09/2018 09:47 AM »
This is basically the summary of everything we need to know, to be honest. SpaceX did their job as contracted and at the end of the day, that is all the other customers care about. We aren't going to find out anything about that payload.

Unless it's observed - or unless we see another fairing with a Northrop Grumman logo on it in 12 months' time or so, in which case we can probably go through this all over again ;)

Offline Katana

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #867 on: 01/09/2018 09:57 AM »
I'm curious why there wasn't mention of a failed solar panel deployment. "Dead on orbit" is an indicator. Maybe I'm too old and forgot that some engineer invented the impossible to fail solar panel?
ZUMA is too confidental to have any insiders mention about details.

Offline Star One

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Offline Katana

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #869 on: 01/09/2018 10:33 AM »
Just a thought. If I wanted to "lose" an important orbital payload, i would supply the payload sep adaptor so that there could be no blame on the launch contractor, and then I could claim mission failure although it actually successfully made it to orbit. And then I do some burns on the satellite to another orbit, and nobody finds my it...the press speculation is payload is gone, splashed. And the launch contractor is not at fault.

Speculation, but I wonder how likely that scenario is?
How / why could the story of adaptor be disclassified immediately, while the mission is too confidental to be confirmed as success/ failure?

The source of information itself may be a big clue.

Offline jaredgalen

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #870 on: 01/09/2018 11:01 AM »
If the payload adapter did fail, and LEO was achieved, is there a procedure for delaying a deorbit burn to troubleshoot?
With payloads, you would think that failure to separate would be worth waiting and looking at.
Perhaps there are orbital dynamics that make this nonsense, I don't know enough to speculate further.

Online jgoldader

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #871 on: 01/09/2018 11:26 AM »
To preface, we could all be speculating needlessly due to a successful maskirovka.  And, I expect the details of a particular payload separation system could be mostly ITARred.  But, wouldn't you want 2-string redundancy for what seems to be a "one chance to get it right" mission critical event?  So, two wiring harnesses with separate commands sent through each, something like that?  I might've missed discussion on this upthread; if so, apologies.
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Online SimonFD

If the payload adapter did fail, and LEO was achieved, is there a procedure for delaying a deorbit burn to troubleshoot?
With payloads, you would think that failure to separate would be worth waiting and looking at.
Perhaps there are orbital dynamics that make this nonsense, I don't know enough to speculate further.

I think the main limitation for on-orbit operations is the battery condition of the upper stage. I don't think it lasts very long (see discussion of FH demo mission).
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Offline Norm38

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #873 on: 01/09/2018 11:53 AM »
I have a question for those with industry experience that I haven't seen asked, and I would like to speculate on.

Let's assume that the ONLY thing that went wrong, was separation failure.  Immediately after that, we have two functioning pre-programmed spacecraft that cannot communicate with each other, that think they are flying separately, but are still connected.

Zuma would begin firing thrusters to finalize its orbit.  Meanwhile S2 would fire its thrusters to target the de-orbit burn.  Two independent propulsion/guidance systems targeting two different orbits, connected together.

Who wins/loses that tug of war? Does that explain any of the observations we have, such as the "spiral"?
« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 01:02 PM by Norm38 »

Offline FutureMartian97

All of this talk saying how the payload failed to separate really makes me think of how BFR could've saved the day by simply bringing Zuma back to Earth for repairs

We know that NOTAMs are provided for areas where the second stage is supposed to brake up on re-entry. Does that mean that SpaceX must attempt re-entry at that specific space? Or could they choose to leave the second stage in orbit at that point?

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #876 on: 01/09/2018 12:19 PM »
I have a question for those with industry experience that I haven't seen asked, and I would like to speculate on.

Let's assume that the ONLY thing that went wrong, was separation failure.  Immediately after that, we have two functioning pre-programmed spacecraft that cannot communicate with each other, that think they are flying separately, but are still connected.

Zuma would begin firing thrusters to finalize its orbit.  Meanwhile S2 would fire its thrusters to target the de-orbit burn.  Two independent propulsion/guidance systems targeting two different orbits, connected together.

Who wins/looses that tug of war? Does that explain any of the observations we have, such as the "spiral"?

Excellent question. Some of the answer depends on things we don't know. Usually the spacecraft has an electrical means of knowing it has separated (eg contact switch at the sep interface) which tells it to "wake up" and begin its mission. That is typically done in order to prevent the payload from mistakenly/prematurely trying to do its own thing while still attached to the upper stage.

But if separation doesn't occur and the contact switch at the sep plane doesn't open/close, the payload doesn't sense sep and doesn't "wake up" and try to begin on-orbit maneuvers. Assuming ZUMA is designed like a typical payload in that regard.

On the other side, the upper stage is typically pre-programmed to do a collision/contamination avoidance maneuver after payload sep, then deorbit itself. The only way this wouldn't happen is if the upper stage has its own (independent of payload's) separation indicator/sensor and a branch of flight computer instructions that gets chosen in case separation is not sensed. But that assumes there are any good alternative options available in case of failed separation. It's possible there aren't and that the upper stage is designed to issue a sep command and then continue on blindly with C/CAM and deorbit regardless.

In which case it's conceivable the payload remains attached and "dead" because it didn't receive its wake-up call from the separation indicator switch, while the upper stage continues its pre-programmed routine with the payload attached.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 12:24 PM by Kabloona »

Online sghill

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #877 on: 01/09/2018 12:26 PM »
Lots of speculation that zuma was a satellite that failed and reentered around the same time as S2.

I'll add to the noise in a different direction by speculating that Zuma was a hypersonic vehicle, and that it functioned as planned.

Northrup Grumman has been in the hypersonic vehicle business for a long time, and indeed, they are hiring for hypersonic vehicle design engineers in Melbourne right now (check their HR site).

Just last spring, I saw one of their hypersonic cruise missile program trailers parked at a Busy Bee gas station on the way to the Cape with several security vehicle escorts.  When I saw it, I giggled to myself that their super secret program had its damn logo emblazoned all over the side of the trailer.

So, unless Zuma was really a satellite, everything else- including why no agency will own up to the launch- fits nicely with it being a vehicle test for NG.

« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 12:31 PM by sghill »
Bring the thunder Elon!

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #878 on: 01/09/2018 12:34 PM »
How would stage separation fail? What are the common methods for separating payloads? Which might NG have used?

Miswired, bad ordnance, bad command, etc

Unfortunately, it's common that failures happen at the physical/electrical interface of two components supplied by different contractors...in this case (potentially) the payload adapter supplied by NG and (presumably) the separation command electrical harness by Space X. When one contractor supplies, say, the ordnance on the payload adapter, and the other contractor supplies the electrical connector that interfaces with it, a design error on one side won't necessarily be caught on the ground.

Such a case happened on TOS/ACTS mission on the Shuttle, where Lockheed Martin miswired the electrical connectors to the separation system supplied by a subcontractor, with the result that the sep system fired incorrectly in space, despite numerous preflight  fit checks, tests, etc, on the ground.
Which makes it all the more possible that the issue was precisely that-  we know that SpaceX conducted multiple wet dress rehearsals, plus the full static fire back in November... That being said, the wet dress rehearsals were all done without the payload/fairing attached, so that separation couldn't have been tested then... Makes me truly think that NG is at fault here... I just hope we get a little more clarification in the coming hours and days- tho my hopes of SpaceX not getting dragged through the mud in the media is a fools errand at best. Hopefully SpaceX is at least allowed to explain in some way to their actual customers that they're not at fault and that they did the job they were paid to do...

I truly wonder however if this will hurt or even destroy SpaceX's chances for future missions of this nature... especially when politics could possibly muck things up even further


On the Tech Crunch thing- they're owned by AOL... so it's probably down to quick lazy journalism...

Actual separation is never tested.  The signals to separate can be tested during WDR if there is something to record it.

Don't understand your point

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX F9 : Zuma : January 7/8, 2018, CCAFS : DISCUSSION
« Reply #879 on: 01/09/2018 12:37 PM »
Remember that there are cameras on SpaceX vehicles taking video that we never get to see.  If this vehicle failed to separate, there is video IN ADDITION TO the telemetry.  Everybody within the classified loop would know very quickly that something had happened.  Meanwhile, we have the C.O. of the 45th Space Wing congratulating SpaceX and his people for a successful launch.  The classified nature of this mission makes it a magnet for those with an agenda.  The people being attacked cannot defend themselves.

Edit: for typo.

Those cameras would not be used on these missions

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