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general
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4319596.stm

Mission control at ESA is growing increasingly concerned about the fate of Europe's ice monitoring spacecraft, Cryosat.

The Cryosat spacecraft was launched at 1902 local time today, Oct 8, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, but mission controllers have failed to receive a signal from the spacecraft.
hal_9000
I never trusted in new Russians vehicles...
RNeuhaus
I am afraid it would be alike to ones failed launch of the sun sail spacecraft. Let us see in the next days.

Rodolfo
dilo
QUOTE (hal_9000 @ Oct 8 2005, 07:15 PM)
I never trusted in new Russians vehicles...
*

I know that traditional russian vehicles (like Soyuz) are extremely reliable... probably, this do not apply to this launcher (cannot find infos about it).
And yes, this strongly recall me the Solar Sail fiasco...!
BruceMoomaw
The Russians have now confirmed that its upper stage failed. Russian ICBM-based boosters seem, to put it mildly, unreliable -- I suppose we can console ourselves that in the event of WW III, half the Soviet ICBMs would never have reached us.

But CryoSat is an important loss; it would have provided a test of just how much one of the most important possible ongoing effects from global warming is actually occurring.
OWW
QUOTE (dilo @ Oct 8 2005, 08:09 PM)
I know that traditional russian vehicles (like Soyuz) are extremely reliable...
*


A Molnya rocket failed in June. And in October 2002 a Soyuz with ESA microgravity experiments exploded. blink.gif
BTW, I recall the last Rokot launch last month also had problems. Or was it just the Monitor-E satellite? The reports were a bit vague about that. unsure.gif
ugordan
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Oct 8 2005, 10:27 PM)
The Russians have now confirmed that its upper stage failed.  Russian ICBM-based boosters seem, to put it mildly, unreliable -- I suppose we can console ourselves that in the event of WW III, half the Soviet ICBMs would never have reached us.
*


Rest assured, even if only half of the Soviet ICBM force reached the U.S., you'd still be in for one heck of a bad time. The amount of overkill, even today, still seems mindblowing. ph34r.gif
general
Two days ago, another Russian lauch failed:
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/ap_05...tor_launch.html

sad.gif mad.gif
hal_9000
Russians should apply more technology in its vehicles. More technology require more funds... but I can't see it.
I don't think that Russians should abandon this projects as Volna, Dnerp, Rockot...
Adam
Well it's dead sad.gif :

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMR3Q5Y3EE_index_0.html
hal_9000
ESA NEWS
CryoSat Mission lost due to launch failure

8 October 2005
Today at 21.00 CEST Mr Yuri Bakhvalov, First Deputy Director General of the Khrunichev Space Centre on behalf of the Russian State Commission officially confirmed that the launch of CryoSat ended in a failure due to an anomaly in the launch sequence and expressed his regret to ESA and all partners involved.

Preliminary analysis of the telemetry data indicates that the first stage performed nominally. The second stage performed nominally until main engine cut-off was to occur. Due to a missing command from the onboard flight control system the main engine continued to operate until depletion of the remaining fuel.

As a consequence, the separation of the second stage from upper stage did not occur. Thus, the combined stack of the two stages and the CryoSat satellite fell into the nominal drop zone north of Greenland close to the North Pole into high seas with no consequences to populated areas.

An investigating commission by the Russian State authorities has been established to further analyze the reasons for the failure, results are expected within the next weeks. This commission will work in close cooperation with a failure investigation board consisting of Eurockot, ESA and Khrunichev representatives.

This information is released at the same time by Eurockot and ESA.

>> ESA only notified this all because there were a error in vehicle... I don't think that ESA could give a covering "more complete" if a error of its spacecraft <<

covering '
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMR3Q5Y3EE_index_0.html
paxdan
oh bollocks
Bob Shaw
QUOTE (general @ Oct 8 2005, 09:58 PM)
Two days ago, another Russian lauch failed:
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/ap_05...tor_launch.html

sad.gif  mad.gif
*



I followed the links, but don't see any mention of failure - just no recovery (yet). It took them ages last time they flew one of these chaps... ...oh, and it appears (according to an earlier Space.Com article) that the re-entry system is indeed based on the Mars 96 vehicles: "DaimlerChrysler cooperated with Moscow-based NPO Lavochkin to develop the Inflatable Reentry Descent Technology as a compact and cheap way of returning cargo from space. This system was originally designed for Russia's Mars '96 spacecraft. That project failed to leave the Earth orbit after its launch by a Proton rocket..."

Bob Shaw
blobrana
An agency official said experts could not establish communication with the vehicle because it might have landed in an area with heavy radio interference or its transmitter had been damaged during the landing. A search would continue for three days as a matter of routine; but it is too early to declare the craft lost.

The Demonstrator launched successfully.

R-29R Volna (Wave) rocket which is based on an RSM-50 ICBM (SS-N-18, 'Stingray'), a design that is very old by todays standards.

For the Cryosat launch, the Rockot's Breeze-KM upper stage is fairly new. The SS-19 ballistic missile to which the second stage was added, is however very dated.

Seemingly the booster unit did not switch on; the flight computer had a missing command.
Doh!
BruceMoomaw
QUOTE (ugordan @ Oct 8 2005, 08:50 PM)
Rest assured, even if only half of the Soviet ICBM force reached the U.S., you'd still be in for one heck of a bad time. The amount of overkill, even today, still seems mindblowing.  ph34r.gif
*


Oh, I know. I didn't say it was MUCH of a consolation. (A few years back, Newsweek had a lengthy article on the staggering amount of overkill in both nation's ICBM forces -- they had entire fusion warheads devoted to taking out individual railroad stations. When Cheney, as Bush Sr.'s Secretary of Defense, was told about this, he gasped, "Who's responsible for this?" "Why, you are, sir," a general replied. All Pentagon officials at all levels had routinely supported gradually piling on more and more and more overkill, and of course the same thing happened on the Soviet side.)
Rakhir
QUOTE (dilo @ Oct 8 2005, 10:09 PM)
I know that traditional russian vehicles (like Soyuz) are extremely reliable... probably, this do not apply to this launcher (cannot find infos about it).
And yes, this strongly recall me the Solar Sail fiasco...!
*


You can compare the launch vehicule reliability in the following link (see "2005 Launch Vehicle Reliability Stats") cool.gif
http://www.geocities.com/launchreport/slr.html

According to these stats, Rokot reliability is not so bad.

This other link is also a good one when you are searching for information on launchers, spacecrafts, missions...
http://www.skyrocket.de/space/space.html
Rakhir
QUOTE (OWW @ Oct 8 2005, 10:38 PM)
A Molnya rocket failed in June. And in October 2002 a Soyuz with ESA microgravity experiments exploded.  blink.gif
BTW, I recall the last Rokot launch last month also had problems. Or was it just the Monitor-E satellite? The reports were a bit vague about that.  unsure.gif
*


Actually, the launch of Monitor-E was a success, the satellite suffered a communication glitch shortly after launch, but communication with the satellite was restored shortly after.

http://www.spacedaily.com/2005/050827095150.u72qqpvz.html
Rakhir
Cryosat team desperate to rebuild

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4326386.stm
Tesheiner
QUOTE (hal_9000 @ Oct 8 2005, 11:02 PM)
Russians should apply more technology in its vehicles. More technology require more funds... but I can't see it.
I don't think that Russians should abandon this projects as Volna, Dnerp, Rockot...
*


IMHO, the question is not about technology but quality assurance & testing. Of course, it means $$$ too.
ljk4-1
QUOTE (Tesheiner @ Oct 10 2005, 07:35 AM)
IMHO, the question is not about technology but quality assurance & testing. Of course, it means $$$ too.
*


You get what you pay for, as the Cosmos 1 team learned the hard way.

My sincere condolences to the Cryosat team.

Russia, if you want to stay in the space business, you better generate a few more dollars for quality control. You are not the only space game in town.
ljk4-1
Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation, answers questions on the
loss of ESA’s CryoSat due to launch failure.

More at:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Cryosat/SEM1OR5Y3EE_0.html
tty
QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Oct 10 2005, 04:51 PM)
Russia, if you want to stay in the space business, you better generate a few more dollars for quality control.  You are not the only space game in town.
*


Actually if the problem was in the software it is very untypical for the russians. Traditionally hardware quality has been the nemesis of the russian space program (and almost everything else russian).
The traditional view is that in anything that can be done by just thinking hard or with pen and paper the russians are normally the best in the World.

tty
ugordan
QUOTE (tty @ Oct 10 2005, 06:37 PM)
Actually if the problem was in the software it is very untypical for the russians. Traditionally hardware quality has been the nemesis of the russian space program (and almost everything else russian).
*


The russians had a few software mess-ups themselves. The first (I think) launch of the Energia vehicle, which was supposed to lift a military payload failed because the upper stage payload guidance was somehow flipped by 180 degrees, the spacecraft ended up braking instead of inserting into orbit.
ljk4-1
QUOTE (ugordan @ Oct 11 2005, 07:21 AM)
The russians had a few software mess-ups themselves. The first (I think) launch of the Energia vehicle, which was supposed to lift a military payload failed because the upper stage payload guidance was somehow flipped by 180 degrees, the spacecraft ended up braking instead of inserting into orbit.
*


The Mars 4 through 7 probes all had their computer chips accidentally degraded, but the Soviets had to launch them anyway to keep within the window timeframe. This is why they all ended up failing evnetually.

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/marsm73.htm
Rakhir
Recent tests showed that "obsolete" old Russian ICBMs still work. So, I suppose that the space launchers derived from them should also work.

Details at : http://www.spacewar.com/news/icbm-05e.html
deglr6328
astronautix: "Unfortunately, this entire series of spacecraft experienced failures on arrival at Mars due to pre-flight test of the electronics with helium, which resulted in degradation of the computer chips during the journey to Mars."

?? Testing with helium caused damage to the microchips? Wish there were more info on this out there...
BruceMoomaw
I've got some -- a much more detailed account of the whole affair from a scientist associated with the Soviet Mars program. I'll review it and report later.
BruceMoomaw
The report (V.G. Perminov, "The Difficult Road to Mars", 1999) doesn't mention helium -- but it does say: "Suddenly, during testing of the power system, the onboard blocks started to fail. Analysis showed thqat in all cases the power system malfunctioned because of a failure of the 2T312 transistor, which was fabricated at the Voronezhskiy plant. An interministry commission carefully analyzed this problem and came to the conclusion that the reason for the transistors' failure was intercrystalline corrosion in the area of the transistor lead.

"To save gold resources, some 'smart person' suggested that the gold leads be replaced by aluminum ones. The necessary tests were not made. And so 2 yeasrs later, this suggestion caused major trouble. The only way to remedy the situation was to replace the flawed transistors with ones fabricated according to the old technology."

Since this would have taken at least 6 months, and studies showed a 50-50 chance that any craft carrying the transistors would make it to Mars before they started to fail, the Kremlin decided to gamble on flying the four 1973 Mars craft in the hope that they could pull off a Mars landing before the Vikings got there. But three of the four craft malfunctioned en route -- Mars 4 faiiled to fire its retrorocket (although it did snatch some photos), Mars 7's lander failed to fire its trajectory-change rocket after ejection, and Mars 6 totally lost its radio transmission system only 2 months out. It neverthless carried out the remainder of its mission automatically, but it's still not known why the lander lost contact virtually at the moment of landing.

By the way, Perminov also reveals that the crash of the Mars 2 lander -- the first man-made object ever to hit the planet -- occurred not because of any onboard failure, but because the Mars ephemeris data programmed into Mars 2's autonomous navigation system for the final midcourse maneuver was slightly inaccurate, so that the lander entered at too steep a trajectory. He's still a little bitter at the US not providing the USSR with the better ephemerides they already had (which occurred only a year later, in exchange for the Soviets releasing more of their data from the Veneras). He also thinks that the post-landing Mars 3 failure may have been due to a static discharge from the massive ongoing dust storm.
RNeuhaus
Bruce, Thanks for bring us the knowledge of the previous report and also of others.

Rodolfo
ljk4-1
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Oct 15 2005, 07:12 PM)
Since this would have taken at least 6 months, and studies showed a 50-50 chance that any craft carrying the transistors would make it to Mars before they started to fail, the Kremlin decided to gamble on flying the four 1973 Mars craft in the hope that they could pull off a Mars landing before the Vikings got there.  But three of the four craft malfunctioned en route -- Mars 4 faiiled to fire its retrorocket (although it did snatch some photos), Mars 7's lander failed to fire its trajectory-change rocket after ejection, and Mars 6 totally lost its radio transmission system only 2 months out.  It neverthless carried out the remainder of its mission automatically, but it's still not known why the lander lost contact virtually at the moment of landing.
*


Jonathan McDowell told me that Mars 6 came down at too fast a speed on very rough terrain, which could certainly explain the sudden lost of contact.

http://www.planet4589.org/space/space.html

The estimated impact speed was 61 meters per second.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_2

So, if the Soviets had not screwed up on this technical point, perhaps the first transmissions from the Martian surface would not have been the Vikings.

I still hope some day the Mars 2, 3, and 6 landing/crash sites are found and investigated.
BruceMoomaw
Unfortunately, that Wikipedia article still leaves wide open whether the Mars 6 failure was due to the retrorockets exploding, or to their failing to fire at all, or simply to the lander touching down by bad luck in rough terrain: "Contact with the descent module was lost at 09:11:05 UT in " 'direct proximity to the surface', probably either when the retrorockets fired or when it hit the surface at an estimated 61 m/s." (The latter presumably would have happened if the retrorockets had not fired at all.) Nor can I find anything more in McDowell's very brief description. Aviation Week said at the time that contact was lost 2 seconds before the planned landing, although I've never seen this anywhere else.

However, the Wikipedia article does contain two interesting notes that are new to me. First: "The [Mars 6] descent module transmitted 224 seconds of data before transmissions ceased, the first data returned from the atmosphere of Mars. Unfortunately [this is new to me], much of the data were unreadable due to a flaw in a computer chip which led to degradation of the system during its journey to Mars." (That transistor error really loused up the Soviets disastrously -- it seems likely that it may also have caused the retros to fail to fire, and even if the lander had touched down it might have transmitted only gibberish.)

Second: " Due to a problem in the operation of one of the onboard systems (attitude control or retro-rockets) the [Mars 7] landing probe separated prematurely (4 hours before encounter) and missed the planet by 1300 km. The early separation was probably due to a computer chip error which resulted in degradation of the systems during the trip to Mars. The intended landing site was 50° S, 28° W." I'm a bit skeptical of part of this -- 4 hours before closest approach actually sounds about right for such a lander's separation, and it may be that the only failure was the failure of its course-diversion rocket to fire. But in any case I had no idea that its intended landing site had ever been announced.

By the way, Perminov's account provides no new information at all on the possible cause of the Mars 6 failure -- he just says he doesn't know. (We will likely never know, even if some future traveller in that antique land stumbles across its remains.) But he does provide, as I say, a lot of interesting new stuff -- including confirmation, after three decades, of my suspicion that while the 1970s Soviet Mars landers carried no biological experiments, they DID carry an X-ray spectrometer to analyze the elemental composition of Mars soil (presumably like the one on the Lunokhods). He also says that the addition of that new radio transmission channel to send data during the descent itself was virtually the only difference between the 1971 and 1973 landers -- and that he had to fight like hell to get it added.
ljk4-1
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Oct 16 2005, 05:34 PM)
However, the Wikipedia article does contain two interesting notes that are new to me.  First: "The [Mars 6] descent module transmitted 224 seconds of data before transmissions ceased, the first data returned from the atmosphere of Mars. Unfortunately [this is new to me], much of the data were unreadable due to a flaw in a computer chip which led to degradation of the system during its journey to Mars."  (That transistor error really loused up the Soviets disastrously -- it seems likely that it may also have caused the retros to fail to fire, and even if the lander had touched down it might have transmitted only gibberish.) 

Second: " Due to a problem in the operation of one of the onboard systems (attitude control or retro-rockets) the [Mars 7] landing probe separated prematurely (4 hours before encounter) and missed the planet by 1300 km. The early separation was probably due to a computer chip error which resulted in degradation of the systems during the trip to Mars. The intended landing site was 50° S, 28° W."  I'm a bit skeptical of part of this -- 4 hours before closest approach actually sounds about right for such a lander's separation, and it may be that the only failure was the failure of its course-diversion rocket to fire.  But in any case I had no idea that its intended landing site had ever been announced.
*


Mars 7 was supposed to land on Mars at 50 degrees south/28 degrees west, which I believe came from Kenneth Gatland's 1971 book Robot Explorers.

The Mars 6 atmosphere data, which said there was a larger amount of argon in the Red Planet's atmosphere than expected, caused the Viking team to actually attune the Viking lander sensors for this gas. It later turned out to be faulty data.

In a letter by Bart Hendrixx in the BIS Spaceflight magazine around 1991, he wrote that they had planned to put life detection equipment on the first Mars landers in the 1960s. They tested them out on the Kazahk steppes. The detectors failed to find life and the devices were not included, as the scientists assumed that if they could not find life on Earth, they certainly wouldn't find any on Mars.
BruceMoomaw
Yes, I read that. (As I understand it, it's still uncertain whether the 1964 Zond 2 mission carried a lander or not; if it did, it would have been predicated on the assumption that Mars' atmosphere was dense enough to allow a soft landing with just a parachute.)
edstrick
Regarding the Mars 6 descent data. 2 sets of science results were published from that.

There was very low sample-rate deceleration data, I do not recall if it was from doppler through the relaying flyby vehicle or onboard accelerometers, but it provided a crude atmosphere temperature structure profile that was totally eclipsed ni quality by the Viking entry data.

The other data was engineering data from the pump-down of a mass spectrometer that was going to take atmosphere mass-spectra as the first science task after landing, instead of an image. The data indicated that the mass spectrometer pump was "laboring" and having problems reducing in-instrument pressure to the level needed for the science data after landing. Their inferred cause was an estimated 30% argon in the atmosphere.

This value was large, but not outside the range of some models for the composition of the martian atmosphere, and caused concern for successful operation of the already designed Viking Lander mass spectrometers. Viking had a simple mass spectrometer or ion-spectrometer on the entry heat shield as part of an atmosphere structure experiment, and I think it was able to confirm a much lower limit on argon fraction, enabling normal planned operation of the lander instruments.

The limited Mars 6 results, if I recall, were published in an article in the journal "Icarus" maybe a year before the Vikings got to Mars.
ljk4-1
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Oct 16 2005, 09:52 PM)
Yes, I read that.  (As I understand it, it's still uncertain whether the 1964 Zond 2 mission carried a lander or not; if it did, it would have been predicated on the assumption that Mars' atmosphere was dense enough to allow a soft landing with just a parachute.)
*


Andrew Lepage wrote about Zond 2 in the April, 1991 issue of the EJASA. His conclusion was that the probe did have a landing capsule, but that the Soviets assumed Mars had a thicker atmosphere than it did, so that even if Zond 2 did release its lander, the craft would have likely crashed on the Martian surface.

The issue and article can be found here:

ftp://ftp.seds.org/pub/info/newsletters/e...91/jasa9104.txt
OWW
QUOTE (Rakhir @ Oct 9 2005, 12:32 PM)
Actually, the launch of Monitor-E was a success, the satellite suffered a communication glitch shortly after launch, but communication with the satellite was restored shortly after.


Unfortunately not for long:
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20051019/41821700.html
Rakhir
Ban On Russian Rokot Launches Lifted

"The cause of the crash of the Rokot booster that was used to launch the CryoSat satellite has been determined.

It was the improper flight program that resulted in the failure of the Briz-KM upper stage's control system to give a command to shut down the engine of the second stage of the carrier rocket."


http://www.spacedaily.com/news/launchers-05zzzq.html
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