Rocket failure forces emergency landing by joint American-Russian crew


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/11/rocket-failure-forces-emergenc.html


#2

Listen for the mention of failure in the background long before the foreground announcer is up to speed.

#3

I’m putting off space travel, they gotta work the bugs out first.


#4

The consensus so far seems to be that one of the first stage boosters collided with the second stage during separation. Notice in the video that the stage separation, instead of producing a nice pretty Korolev cross, instead produces some very bright additional debris. In the livestream from the capsule, it’s pretty clear that a major shock went through the whole vehicle, leading to temporary video signal loss.


#5

I have read that this was the first failure of a manned Soyuz launch since 1975. That’s quite a long time to keep Murphy’s law at bay.


#6

And they’ve been launching some (unmanned) from Giana.


#7

Fun trivia: the first “countdown to liftoff” was in a pre-Apollo scifi movie. It served no purpose, except to add suspense to an otherwise boring scene. The tradition continues, despite being useless.


#8

Well, that’s a first? AFAIK there’s never been a successful emergency abort during a launch before?


#9

ISS crews are rotated out on a six month schedule because that’s about how long a Soyuz capsule can remain viable in orbit. It has a design life of only 215 days, any longer than that and the vehicle’s corrosive propellants will degrade their tanks.

If nothing changes, the current crew will therefore be forced to depart before their only ride home literally eats itself.

Whoops!


#10

There was another one on Soyuz that happened right before launch:


#11

The countdown comes from the 1929 movie ‘Frau im Mond’ which also featured a multistage rocket, assembled vertically and then rolled to the launch pad which is cooled with water - not a surprise really as it had a scientific consultant in the shape of Herman Oberth who created a lot of the original ‘rocket science’


#12

Despite all the bad press Elon Musk has been getting recently about Tesla and his mad tweets, hurry up SpaceX! We need several options to get to and from space, not just one.

Good to hear that although the launch failed, no one was hurt badly. Often these things don’t end well.


#13

I thought eastern Colorado was bad, but Baikonur looks like the flattest, most boring landscape in the world.


#14

In other unrelated news, the rectal method of making synthetic diamonds was perfected today…

I hope Nick gets another shot at it. He is from Kansas and our motto is, Ad astra per aspera - to the stars through difficulty.


#15

Pear Aspera, the drink of the Ad Astra science-fiction convention back in the day. I think the recipe has been lost, thank ghod!


#16

Oh, and as the Guardian points out, there was another in-flight abort in 1975: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_7K-T_No.39

It was a much closer call! This detail in particular:

The capsule landed on a snow-covered slope and began rolling downhill towards a 152 m (499 ft) sheer drop before it was stopped by the parachutes’ becoming snagged on vegetation.


#17

If the current ISS crew has to leave the station unmanned, what are the international salvage rules? (Asking for a Bond villain friend.)


#18

According to Aliens, as long as no one is left alive, you have full salvage rights.


#19

Hi! I think “tradition” – if any at all – would apply to allowing the public in on the countdown. (30+ years nose-deep in the industry here… so :slight_smile:) But countdowns must happen. There are hundreds of things that happen on the pad and in the vehicle that are critically dependent on time and sequence and that require real-time monitoring by control room personnel, and especially when a specific launch time is required (ex: orbital rendezvous). But why a count DOWN rather than simply “starting the clock” from zero with the first pad operation? To differentiate the timing of on-the-pad operations (many of which have only so much time to be accomplished; the launch team have lines in the sand to stick to, so to speak) from vehicle-on-its-own operations (which begin with engine ignition).


#20

That happened to me all the time in Kerbal and I never figured out how to fully remedy it.