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Glory Satellite Lost To Taurus XL Failure

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the glorious-ball-of-fire dept.

NASA 246

FullBandwidth writes "The protective nose cone of an Orbital Sciences Corporation Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA's Glory environmental research satellite apparently failed to separate after launch Friday, preventing the spacecraft from achieving orbit in a $424 million failure. It was the second nose cone failure in a row for a Taurus XL rocket following the 2009 loss of another environmental satellite."

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246 comments

Womp Womp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378574)

Orbital Sciences laid off my dad when I was a little kid, so fuck 'em.

Re:Womp Womp (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378808)

And they're about to lay of a lot of other peoples dads. Bad news here.

Re:Womp Womp (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379106)

And they're about to lay of a lot of other peoples dads. Bad news here.

I don't know, Orbital's board of directors looks like a who's who of republican lobbyists and military contractor sweethearts.

A few lunch checks get picked up, a few golfing trips to Manele Bay and everybody's good. Oh, there will still be layoffs, but as Speaker John Boehner put it, "So be it."

Re:Womp Womp (2, Interesting)

Whalou (721698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379202)

I don't know, Orbital's board of directors looks like a who's who of republican lobbyists and military contractor sweethearts.

Conspiracy alert: They caused the nose cone problems to prevent those environmental satellites from confirming global warning!

:-P

The Glory Satellite... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378604)

...vanished into the Glory Hole. CowboyNeal is under investigation.

$4 for every US Household (2)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378630)

Damn.

Skip eating lunch today, and "make up" for the loss.

Re:$4 for every US Household (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378716)

Shouldn't you better eat lunch twice and put that money back into the economy?

Re:$4 for every US Household (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378752)

Shouldn't you better eat lunch twice and put that money back into the economy?

We already put that money into the economy by building the rocket and satellite. This isn't an monetary loss at all. This is a loss of potential knowledge from the satellite.

Re:$4 for every US Household (2)

myth24601 (893486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379920)

Of course this is a monetary loss, something worth half a billion dollars was destroyed. The half billion was spent to create something of value, had it been spent on something else that was not lost, we would have spent the money and had something of value to show for it.

Re:$4 for every US Household (1, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378986)

Skip eating lunch today, and "make up" for the loss

I've got a better idea. Let's ask the top 1% not to open the second bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild at dinner for a week and pay for the space program for a year.

Re:$4 for every US Household (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379336)

You mean the same 1% of media elites and politicians that demand the rest of us do with less while at the same time living their hypocritical lifestyle? I agree.

Re:$4 for every US Household (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379406)

I prefer the bottom 99% show up at the 1%'s homes with torches and pichforks and solve the whole problem in a night.

Re:$4 for every US Household (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379488)

Ooooh that would be fun!

Re:$4 for every US Household (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379684)

....where the hell am I supposed to find a torch and a pitchfork???

Re:$4 for every US Household (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379908)

Don't live in farm country eh? I'd just go across the street to the neighbors barn =)

Re:$4 for every US Household (0, Flamebait)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379442)

Hey, Captain Working Class: instead of buying that second six pack of PBR, why not feed an impoverished family in Liberia for a week? Or, if you believe charity starts at home, try one [sundaybreakfast.org] of my [philabundance.org] preferred charities.

Re:$4 for every US Household (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379962)

Actually, Mercycorps (http://www.mercycorps.org/gifts) provides affordable "kits" that allow you to do just that. You can do anything from buying a chicken for an impoverished family for $35 up to digging a well for a drought struck village for $3000. My favorite kit is the goat. For $70 a family gets a goat they can turn out on the scrub around their house and get valuable wool, milk and eventually meat from.

These kits make great gifts for that person who "has everything". Well, does he have a rural third world classroom built in his honor ($125)? Maybe instead of that iPad for that special someone, you could pay for the education of five girls at $100 apiece; provide a dozen vaccinations to children at $45; or teach ten women to read at $50 apiece. You can reintegrate eight child soldiers to their community through education and apprenticeship programs for only $58 each.

I am amazed at the cynicism of some people. You make it sound like philanthropy is something working class people would never do. Well, *I'm* working class and *I've* done it. The power of the almighty dollar isn't just for the rich. You can do amazing things for so little. You can change somebody's life for what amounts to pocket change you'd never miss.

Re:$4 for every US Household (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379738)

I've got a better idea. Let's ask the top 1% not to open the second bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild at dinner for a week and pay for the space program for a year.

How about you put your money where your mouth rather than Other Peoples' Money? If you aren't willing to kick in, then I can't be bothered to get the 1% to kick in either.

Re:$4 for every US Household (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379936)

As a percentage of wealth or income I already kick in a LOT more than anyone who could be described as wealthy. Remember Warren Buffet pays a much smaller percentage in taxes than his secretary does.

Time for a launch loop (2)

Menkhaf (627996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378634)

Enough with malfunctioning rockets.

How many payloads have gone to waste because of rocket failures, and at what cost? Enough to explore the idea of a sort of launch loop [wikimedia.org]?

Re:Time for a launch loop (2)

Overunderrated (1518503) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378666)

Enough to explore the idea of a sort of launch loop [wikimedia.org]?

No.

Sincerely, Engineers.

Re:Time for a launch loop (2, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379140)

Well you engineers can't seem to get the process of nose cone separation right, let alone the rest of the rocket. How about let's not lose any more missions because a nose cone didn't come off. Redundant systems hello???? When the thing failed to come off, there should have been two more systems behind that ready to crack that nose cone off the rocket.

Or maybe engineers are just a bunch of monkeys jacking off after all.

Sincerely, REPUBLICANS who fucking hate smart people.

Re:Time for a launch loop (0)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379742)

Clearly they need you to tell them how its done. Sure, in your perfect world every system is redundant, the redundant bits have backups, the backups have an auxillary system and the auxillary system has a dwarf with his finger on the button. The real world can't do this, because some Republican who hates smart people moans about costs being too high.

Sincerly, Rational Thinker

Re:Time for a launch loop (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379792)

The real world can't do this, because some Republican who hates smart people moans about costs being too high.

When was the last time that anyone else lost a satellite due to failure to separate the fairing, let alone two in a row? I remember the Agena docking target on one of the Gemini missions in the 60s and one other failure in the last few years (which may have been the other Taurus launch mentiohed).

As rocket science goes it really seems to be a solved problem that's been done successfully thousands of times before.

Re:Time for a launch loop (4, Insightful)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378698)

Nope.

Don't get me wrong, I would love easy access to space, but there are enormous up-front costs to constructing a mega launch service, like a launch loop or an elevator, not to mention significant technical risks, very few of which are in the process of being retired.

Rockets are a tried, tested, and true method of getting to space. They have put up many times the value of spacecraft as they have lost, not to mention a growing number of human payloads. They are also getting cheaper, with public ventures like SpaceX. I think it's going to be a good long while before you see someone investing heavily in alternative launch methods.

Aikon-

Re:Time for a launch loop (1)

Calindae (1256922) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379006)

Rockets are a tried, tested, and true method of getting to space.

Treating cancer is also a tried, tested and true method of saving *some* people. Why not develope a cure and save them all? Why not develop a more efficient gateway to space and save the $424 million next time?

Re:Time for a launch loop (2)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379582)

Why not develope a cure and save them all? Why not develop a more efficient gateway to space and save the $424 million next time?

enormous up-front costs ... significant technical risks

Re:Time for a launch loop (2)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379858)

$424 million wasn't lost. The only thing lost was a satelite. The money got spent building the rocket and satelite. People got paid, now they get paid again. Cry all you want about the tax payer, but the sad reality is, they would have taken your money anyways.

Atleast this way its slightly distributed, and the aerospace community learns something. Consider how much fuel is spent, per day, fighting two wars. How much it costs to build a fence acrosss the border (which is the same security they use to keep preteens from sneaking in to the county fair). How much it costs to keep travellers from taking a bottle of water on a plane.

Re:Time for a launch loop (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378732)

I think we're a long way from any 2000km-long megastructure being a viable solution to the problem. There's a lot of good ground between rockets and sci-fi megatech that should be explored first.

Like what? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378984)

No offense, I'm seriously curious.

What is the middle ground between rockets and sci-fi megatech?

1. Rockets
2. ...?
3. Launch-loops / space elevators / etc.

Re:Like what? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379270)

I was thinking something along the lines of launching to LEO from the back of hypervelocity suborbital cargo aircraft, like that X-Prize competitor but on a bigger scale. We're still talking old-fashioned chemical propulsion, of course, and there will have to be a chemical->physical switchover in launch systems eventually.

Re:Time for a launch loop (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379004)

only because of naysayers like yourself. We are very close to having the tech to build a space elevator. A big project like that is just want the USA needs, and having the only cheap way to and from space would secure our super power status for the next 100 years or more. Our ability to seed space with cheap orbital solar arrays and solve our energy problems would be reason enough to do it. That's not even considering all the easy material wealth that could be mined from asteroids. Flying around and working in space is easy, it's the getting out of earths gravity well part that's the problem.

Re:Time for a launch loop (4, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379180)

Very close? The longest carbon nanotube ever observed was only 18.5 cm long. I think LEO is a bit higher than that.

Re:Time for a launch loop (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379578)

Not to mention that the USA is one of the few big enough countries to have such a structure.

Re:Time for a launch loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379804)

If you assholes manage to do it, someone else will do it too, within 10 years, not 100. USA is doomed. not a super power, just dicks.

Re:Time for a launch loop (0)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379912)

and what happens when this $800 billion dollar project fails to get a satelite up? I'll take my chances on the $400 million... thanks... I don't know why you think flying around and working space is easy.. Real life isn't star trek. It's not easy or safe to mine materials on earth, let alone on a rock sailing along at 12,000 meters per second reletive to us.

Re:Time for a launch loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379986)

If they can't manage to separate a fucking nose cone, how exactly do you expect them to manage a space elevator? Jesus christ you guys need to learn "KISS", and no I don't mean the band.

Re:Time for a launch loop (3, Insightful)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378854)

you think the launch loop is a good idea because you have no idea just how chaotic a system a cable, being accelerated through a curve at some very high mach number, is. and the most minor of wobbles is enough to crash it into the sheathing and kaboom. not to mention sending something along it, that is magnetically suspended close to it. and the wear from flexing at those speeds, and the heating, and having a flexible tube in which it can be magnetically suspended in as it passes through it. a tube that must also maintain a vacuum. and a myriad of other near impossible obstacles.

Re:Time for a launch loop (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378952)

Enough to explore the idea of a sort of launch loop?

I'm curious to know where you are going to put this thing. Its not a case of NIMBY, but NIMC (Not in My Continent)

Re:Time for a launch loop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379062)

Yes, because of a malfunctioning bolt, now you propose that the same technology will work with a near-magical, impossible technology? You're insane, you're a Space Nutter, you're deluded.

Here, let me explain. I think it's time we build a Ringworld. Then you don't need satellites, you just put cameras on the opposite side of the Arch. Ta-dah!

Do you see the insanity, the cluelessness, the childish sci-fi derived wishful thinking?

Two environmental satellites lost in a row? (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378638)

I bet Big Oil is behind this.

Re:Two environmental satellites lost in a row? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378978)

This being idiot liberal anti everything Slashdot, I think your serious.

Re:Two environmental satellites lost in a row? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379110)

What's up with his serious?

Re:Two environmental satellites lost in a row? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379120)

Of course Big Oil's angle might be to welcome the launch of satellites that can reveal better information about the climate.
The real people who won't want these launched would be the established climatologists.
Maybe I'm being sarcastic, and maybe I'm not. ;-)

Re:Two environmental satellites lost in a row? (1)

G-Man (79561) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379392)

Get with the times - everything these days is the fault of the Koch brothers. The KOOooOOooOOCH Brothers!

Re:Two environmental satellites lost in a row? (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379522)

Charlie Sheen's global warming aliens are behind it... or maybe it is just Charlie Sheen....

Fix to overcome problem next time... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378704)

IANARS

Just make the fairing lighter and stick a bit more fuel in the rocket, problem getting to orbit solved! As for getting the satellite out, perhaps they could stick a baby chick in who can peck their way through the shell?

(Absolutely no idea why NASA didn't hire me, what with all my lack of qualifications and everything. I have loads of useful ideas ;)

Re:Fix to overcome problem next time... (5, Funny)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378778)

(Absolutely no idea why NASA didn't hire me, what with all my lack of qualifications and everything. I have loads of useful ideas ;)

Don't put yourself down Senator.

better get walmart to make you a new one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378712)

Made in china that is

Re:better get walmart to make you a new one (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378790)

Best thing is they'll make your design and around the back they'll knock about 10 more rip off versions for a tenth of the price for the home market.

seriously wtf? (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378726)

second nosecone failure in a row... man. im no rocket scientist, but im pretty sure thats like, what, a few explosive bolts, something that detects main engine cutoff, with a timer backup? its not like its the fucking guidance system.

Re:seriously wtf? (2)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378968)

Yea, the whole batch of self-sealing stem bolts is probably bad.

Re:seriously wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379360)

Everybody makes jokes about the whole rocket being outsourced to China for the next go-around, but honestly where do the explosive bolts or the explosive inside the bolts come from? I could see somebody being cheap on the part inventory somewhere that could cause a nice chain of events. One would think the nose-cone separation would be the easiest part after considering all involved in getting the thing up there.

As far as we know, they could have a stupid wire popping out from vibration or have something be icing up from moisture getting inside and the drop in pressure on the way up or something stupid like that. Needs more testing to make sure the system works before the next launch. Consistency is one thing, but having it by failing isn't good.

It fell into the Glory Hole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378728)

That hole will swallow anything.

Not a complete loss (0)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378758)

The launch failures of these satellites do confirm one important piece of data for us: We now have two massive rockets worth of greenhouse gasses swirling around in the atmosphere than we did not before. This is an important data point, I think.

Re:Not a complete loss (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378820)

I was thinking roughly the same thing. "Satellite orbited to study the environment fucks up (in a very small way) same environment, and cannot do the study it was launched to perform. Twice."

Third time's the charm?

Seriously, though, the term "this isn't rocket science" exists for a reason. Because this stuff IS rocket science. Monumentally complicated machines trying to perform monumentally complex tasks, built to a budget by several of the lowest bidders all trying to work together.

What's worse? Wasting money failing to try to do something good, or succeeding at doing something bad?

Re:Not a complete loss (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378946)

That's an interesting thought, actually. I found this blog post [startswithabang.com] on the impact of Shuttle launches, at least. Turns out that you wouldn't want to be in the wake of one for reasons other than the obvious uncomfortable warmth and gustiness. In the grand scheme it's not a whole lot of pollution of course.

So who is Liable? (1)

.tekrox (858002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35378768)

T-Minus 10 Seconds until OSC bankruptcy

Re:So who is Liable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378944)

T-Minus 10 Seconds until OSC bankruptcy

The Tax payers of the USA. Orbital Science has now blown up $700 million in NASA gear on TWO failed Taurus flights, and that does not include the cost of the flight! NASA was paid 50% for the first failed Taurus, no news yet if second flight was insured, I'm sure the cost went up for the insurance after the first flight!

babys; intentions corrected for 'errors' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378788)

they're 'sleeping' through 'lost in space' right now?

there was not a lot of commiseration about this, as some of the bips are EXTREMELY sensitive at this time, & want to get it 'right'. they really want to help us/themselves, & they're willing to sit/tumble/giggle in large groups with us to prove that. so spelling & grammar challenges, although important, should not be used as a reason to fail to communicate, &/or 'grownups' made the errors. most tiny babys can't even read yet anyway, but they know/feel stuff, & they're paying close attention to what we're doing, & not doing.

our (?corrected?) intentions for US/you;

1. DEWEAPONIZATION (not a real word, but they like it) almost nothing else good happens until some progress here, 'they' say.

2. ALL BABYS CREATED/TO BE TREATED, EQUALLY. (a rough interpretation (probably cost us. seems like a no-brainer but they expressed that we fail on that one too(:)->) 'we do not need any 300$ 'strollers', or even to ride in your smelly cars/planes etc..., until such time as ALL of the creators' innocents have at least food, shelter, & some loving folks nearby.' again, this is a deal breaker, so pay attention.

3. THOU SHALT NOT VACCINATE IRRESPONSIBLY. this appears to be a stop-gap intention.

the genuine feelings expressed included; in addition to the lack of acknowledgment of the advances/evolution of our tiny bodies/dna (including consciousness & intellect), almost nobody knows anymore what's in those things (vaccines) (or they'd tell us), & there's rumor much of it is less than good (possibly fatal) for ANY of us. if it were good for us we'd be gravitating towards it, instead of it being shoved in our little veins, wrecking them, & adversely affecting our improving immune systems/dna/development? at rite-aid, they give the mommies 100$ if they let them stick their babys with whoknowswhat? i can see why they're (the little ones) extremely suspicious? many, oddly? have fading inclinations to want to be reporters of nefarious life threatening processes, ie. 'conspiracies', as they sincerely believe that's 'stuff that REALLY matters', but they KNOW that things are going to be out in the open soon, so they intend to put their ever increasing consciousness, intellect, acute/astute senses & information gathering abilities, to the care & feeding of their fellow humans. no secrets to cover up with that goal.

4. AN END TO MANUFACTURED 'WEATHER'.

sortie like a no-(aerosol tankers)-fly zone being imposed over the whole planet. the thinking is, the planet will continue to repair itself, even if we stop pretending that it's ok/northing's happening. after the weather manipulation is stopped (& it will be) it could get extremely warm/cold/blustery some days. many of us will be moving inland..., but we'll (most of us anyway) be ok, so long as we keep our heads up. conversely, the manufactured 'weather' puts us in a state of 'theater' that allows US to think that we needn't modify our megaslothian heritage of excessiveness/disregard for ourselves, others, what's left of our environment etc...? all research indicates that spraying chemicals in the sky is 100% detrimental to our/planet's well being (or they'd talk to US about it?). as for weather 'extremes', we certainly appear to be in a bleeding rash of same, as well as that all that bogus seismic activity. throws our advanced tiny baby magnets & chromosomes into crisis/escape mode, so that's working? we're a group whose senses are more available to us (like monkeys?) partly because we're not yet totally distracted by the foibles of man'kind'. the other 'part' is truly amazing. we saw nuclear war being touted on PBS as an environmental repair (?depopulation? (makes the babys' 'accountants' see dark red)) tool? yikes. so what gives? thanks for your patience & understanding while we learn to express our intentions. everybody has some. let us know. come to some of our million baby play-dates. no big hurry? catch your breath. we'll wait a bit more. thanks.

do the math. check out YOUR dna/intention potential. thanks again.

NASA COTS contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378866)

I wonder if the COTS contract will have any changes because of this? The Taurus is the same rocket NASA has paid to send cargo to the space station. The good thing about that I guess is it wont need a fairing.....

Re:NASA COTS contract (1)

Annorax (242484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379206)

They could also just ditch Orbital and go with SpaceX for all of COTS.

Strange that no one else has picked-up on the fact that there is more than one player in this game.

Re:NASA COTS contract (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379526)

They could also just ditch Orbital and go with SpaceX for all of COTS.

To be fair, you'd have to be quite brave to put an expensive satellite on top of a Falcon with so few launches so far.

Some Glory details (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35378902)

This is a huge loss. The satellite contained two instruments.
The first measured solar irradiation. If you expect to understand global warming, then you have to know exactly what came in. Glory had approximately triple the accuracy and triple the precision of prior instruments. There are about 30 years of data here which was to be extended. The problem is that the changes being measured are small, and that the instruments are without calibration for years on end. So the issues being measured are the difference of very small numbers. Without glory, we will continue not to have data as credible as we need.
The other instrument measured aerosols - small particles which remain in the air because they are too light to fall. Water vapor condenses on them, and plays a big role in heat retention. But there are many non-constant natural sources of such particles, as well as artificial ones. Glory measured two things: size (it could tell the difference between a 1 micron and 1.2 micron particle), and reflectivity. The latter used optical mechanisms with more than 200 components. The two measurements meant that it would be possible to distinguish better what the aerosols are, and what proportion are man-made.
Now, alas, we are back to argument without essential data we need to decide on the basis of science rather than ideology.

Conspiracy? (1)

petteyg359 (1847514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379036)

Maybe Orbital Sciences Corporation is a global warming/cooling unbeliever and rigged these rockets to fail, since they were both launching devices that would observe climate data.

Tachyon Pulse (1)

MuChild (656741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379074)

This disappoints me greatly. Why didn't they just reconfigure the deflector dish when they realized there was a problem and reduce the mass of the rocket with a tachyon pulse?

Seriously, though, we need a better system. Modern rocketry is almost 100 years old and we haven't come up with anything better?

Satellite Launch Failures Happen All The Time (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379078)

Everyone seems surprised about this, but getting stuff out of the gravity well is complicated and doesn't always work. I've heard stories about satellite companies with early histories that read like a Monty Python skit "Well yeah, the first rocket burned down on the launch pad. The second rocket burned down on the launch pad. The third rocket fell over, burned down and sank into the swamp." You don't launch a satellite without insurance against that sort of thing. At least then you're not out all of the several hundred million it costs to build something and shooting it into space if something goes wrong in the short time it takes to actually do that.

Re:Satellite Launch Failures Happen All The Time (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379134)

You don't launch a satellite without insurance against that sort of thing.

The US government does. I'm pretty sure they don't insure any of their satellites, they just ask Congress to fund them to build another one.

And Delta and Atlas have a 95+% success rate.

Re:Satellite Launch Failures Happen All The Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379496)

Actually, I think they're better than that.. more like 98%... the usual numbers you hear are 1 in 50 launches fails, so Shuttle falls right on the curve.

And, interestingly, I think it's illegal for the government to buy insurance. As pointed out, Congress just allocates the money to build another. In the context of a trillion dollars, $100M is pretty small.

Re:Satellite Launch Failures Happen All The Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379958)

Statistically, insurance doesn't make sense. On average, you pay in more premiums than is ever paid out in claims. If you're a company launching a single satellite, then that "on average" never has a chance to kick in though, and insurance is important to greatly reduce the risk of financial disaster that would otherwise result from a launch failure. If you launch many satellites, then yes, you'll lose a few, but you cover the cost in the saved insurance premiums on the majority that do not fail.

Re:Satellite Launch Failures Happen All The Time (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379294)

And let's not forget pre-launch failures like this one [wikipedia.org].

(NOAA. Environmental craft seem to have the same sort of elevated failure rate as Mars missions. What is it that the martians do not want us to know about the environment?)

Re:Satellite Launch Failures Happen All The Time (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35380004)

what company wouldn't want to insure a giant metal can full of rocket fuel with a multi-million dollar, fragile device on the end. I bet that little Gecko would all over it..

So easy, a rocket scientist can do it..... sometimes....

Glory Satellite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379098)

Tell me I'm not the only one who snickered at the satellite's name. My first thought was that it was meant to look for black holes.

Memories.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379152)

Quite interesting, no one's making "jokes" about how this happened because the rocket was american.
Had it been Russian, however, I'm betting we'd see a dozen trolls already, judging by the comments relating to the failed launch of GLONASS satellites in december.

Outsource? (1)

sirdude (578412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379266)

Anybody care to venture a guess as to how much this mission would have cost if outsourced to India's Antrix/ISRO or Russia? I realise that they also had a failure a few months ago. But their success rate has generally been pretty good when it comes to launches. Are there other space agencies which are offering cheaper alternatives? China? Japan? How about American privateers (sic)?

Re:Outsource? (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379416)

Even if the launch itself were cheaper, you then have to look into getting the payload over to the launch location ... and that might not be a risk they're willing to take.

When there were massive flight delays for some of the groups that I've worked with, they've talked about trying to get into the queue at Vandenberg, rather than Canaveral, but that'd require either trucking it across country, or a flight. Even with launch delays at Canaveral, it was costing them more to hold it on the ground at Canaveral than it would've cost to hold it at Goddard ... but bringing it back to Maryland and then to Florida again was decided to be an unacceptable risk.

I know what you're thinking -- they test these things for vibration on launch, and such, but I don't think that's the same forces as a hard landing from an airplan or hitting a pothole; also, they'd get a cargo plane large enough to ship it ... you can't just send it fedex when it's an oversized load. And for cross country, they have to map out the route so they don't run into any overpasses they can't fit under, etc.

What a croc! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379366)

No more launches on Taurus XL until they PROVE that the fairing works on a test lauch they fund themselves!

Not unexpected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379382)

All down to how NASA operates. They can spend all their funding on one big mission with a 1/20 chance of failure and be screwed if it breaks down, or the same money on half a dozen much less reliable missions and play the odds.

A natural pattern here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379444)

Maybe these satellites are just not environmentally sound.... heh

Gutted for the team (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379458)

A devastating failure. You've got to feel for them.

Public vs Private (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379610)

What's the failure rate, and cost per launch, for public vs. private launches?
Wild guess: private has lower failure rate and costs.

This just in (2)

geekzealot1982 (1996172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35379726)

Rocket science is still a challenging science. Where is Werner von Braun when we need him?

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379994)

I don't know where he is, but his spirit's at SpaceX.

ahem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35379904)

So, just to clarify:

NASA's rocket drops its load, into a giant glory-hole.

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