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Russia Close To Findings On Soyuz and Proton

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the who's-to-blame dept.

ISS 62

First time accepted submitter neBelcnU writes "It's still early, but there are findings for the recent losses of a Proton and Soyuz rockets. There was a procedural error in the Proton's flight planning, and the 3rd stage gas-generator is the center of attention in the Soyuz. From the article: 'The Soyuz investigation has not formally issued its findings or recommended corrective actions. A launch schedule for the next manned flight to the International Space Station will not be decided until the commission completes its work.'"

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FRIST PSOT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268104)

FROSTY PISS, YEAH!

Obligatory? (2, Funny)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268166)

In Soviet Russia rockets launch you!

It is good to see they at least have an idea for what has caused the issue.

Re:Obligatory? (-1, Troll)

slipnslidemaster (516759) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268334)

During the heat of the space race in the 1960's, NASA decided it needed a ball point pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules.
After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of $1 million. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on earth.

The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.

Re:Obligatory? (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268392)

The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.

And stopped doing so after finding out the hard way, that breathing in floating pieces of broken-off pencil cores is not the most pleasant experience. Gravity is a lovely feature we have here on earth, trust me on that.

Re:Obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268416)

Or totally fake

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

Re:Obligatory? (2)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268502)

Not totally fake. Just partially fake, and tp1024 got one important part right, i.e. that pencils aren't the perfect solution in space because of the lead bits (and combustibility). Another important fact is that Fisher used their own R&D funds to make the pen, so even though it was $1 million, it wasn't NASA's (though I'm sure they bought pens at a significant markup so Fisher could recoup).

Re:Obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268516)

Or totally fake

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

If you read the text, you'll see that it's not totally fake, but rather inaccurate.

Re:Obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268806)

And that the Soviets stopped using pencils and went with the Fisher Pen as well.

Re:Obligatory? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268464)

And stopped doing so after finding out the hard way, that breathing in floating pieces of broken-off pencil cores is not the most pleasant experience.

And getting bits of graphite in electrical components (e.g. across the contacts of a switch) isn't a good idea either.

Whereas the Space Pen has almost certainly been a good investment for the company that developed it. Given the number I've seen for sale in museums and similar tourist spots (I had one myself as a kid but lost it) they must have made quite a few milion in sales on Earth.

Re:Obligatory? (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268438)

After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of $1 million.

You seem to imply NASA spend money on R&D and developed it. A guy called Paul Fisher spend money, developed it and gave it away to NASA. The Graphite Pencils were a hazard (would burn in 100% oxygen env, broken tips can fly into your eyes, electronics and cause a short etc) and this guy, simply had the desire and passion to invent a better solution.

Re:Obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268484)

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

Re:Obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268620)

40 years later, fear of lose graphite in a zero-g environment has modern cosmonauts using the fisher space pen.

This a great story still repeated as fact by reactionary media when they get bored talking trash about Democrats.

Re:Obligatory? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268758)

This a great story still repeated as fact by reactionary media when they get bored talking trash about Democrats.

Presumably the pro-Communist media who'd push such a story about Stupid Capitalist Americans 'talk trash' about Democrats because Obama's not far enough to the left for their taste?

Re:Obligatory? (1)

slipnslidemaster (516759) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269074)

Troll?? Really? The OP said "Obligatory"...

Re:Obligatory? (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#37270922)

Somedays the moderators just don't like you I guess.

Re:Obligatory? (3, Funny)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268734)

Oh, I have a good one too.

and the 3rd stage gas-generator is the center of attention in the Soyuz

Above quote must be referring to Dmitri Medvedev, 3rd president of Russia since Soviet Union ("Soyuz" in Russian)... hehe, "gas generator", hehe.

Re:Obligatory? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268814)

Actually, soyuz only means union.. could be referring to USA, EU, or any other kind of union/alliance.

Re:Obligatory? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268896)

Actually, soyuz only means union...

That explains it. A union was to blame. Why am I not surprised?

Re:Obligatory? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275954)

Actually, soyuz only means union.. could be referring to USA, EU, or any other kind of union/alliance.

I disagree. While the exact translation is indeed "union", referring to "soyuz" in ex-soviet countries implies Soviet Union. Just like saying "states" in US usually implies United States and not mental states or states of a matter.

Re:Obligatory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37290024)

Luckily for Soviet would-have-been Moon cosmonauts, they didn't. [wikipedia.org]

Bad things happen when you rush people with this kind of stuff. It is rocket science, after all.

Unfortunately, the Soyuz issue is a bit harder (3, Informative)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268266)

As far as I know, the issue with the Proton was entirely software related and relatively simple to correct once it was found. Mostly because the software isn't destroyed during an accident.

The issue with the Soyuz is hardware related and doesn't have that benefit. There is something wrong with the gas generator of the turbo pumps, that pump oxygen and rocket fuel into the burning cambers. (Which is using hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate to drive them, just like the old German V2 rocket IIRC.) Without having any leftovers to inspect after the failure, it's going to be much harder to ascertain whether its origin has been found or not. But they should be able to find it.

Re:Unfortunately, the Soyuz issue is a bit harder (4, Informative)

sitharus (451656) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268738)

Which is using hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate to drive them, just like the old German V2 rocket IIRC..

No it isn't! While that's true of the RD-117/RD-118 engines on the first stage and boosters the upper stage's RD-0110 uses its Kerosene and LOX to produce the hot gasses.

Re:Unfortunately, the Soyuz issue is a bit harder (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268948)

Thanks. That's why I wrote IIRC - If I Recall Correctly ... and I didn't.

Re:Unfortunately, the Soyuz issue is a bit harder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37271750)

The rocket motor of the V2 (A4) rocket used alcohol/liquid oxygen, so it would have had nothing to do with the V2.

As far as peroxide/potassium permanganate, that sounds more like a maneuvering thruster fuel rather than a staging motor.

Well this is good! (3)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268286)

They just had an ex-astronaut on NPR yesterday talking about how they'd have to evacuate the ISS by mid-November if Soyuz craft weren't flying again by that time.

The ex-astronaut said that was a REALLY short time-frame for an investigation to be conducted and corrections to be made, so he was quite fearful that we'd have to leave the ISS unmanned.

Maybe that won't be the case!

Re:Well this is good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37269942)

Wait, aren't there people on the ISS right now? How do they evacuate if the Russians can't fly?

Re:Well this is good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37271234)

With the Soyuz-TMA the last batch flew up there in, and the spare they keep up there for just such an occasion.

It's not like these things aren't planned for...

Re:Well this is good! (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 3 years ago | (#37274590)

They have two spare capsules up there, each of which can hold 3 people, so they can bring all 6 station crew down without sending anything up from Earth.

Leaving ISS Uninhabited (0)

Sigmon (323109) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268320)

All the recent news about the possibility of leaving ISS uninhabited got me to thinking....

Is there a lock on the door? I know it's far-fetched, but assuming someone had the capability - what would keep some 'rouge' entity (nation or otherwise) from launching themselves into orbit, occupying the thing and... well... at worst, de-orbiting it into a population center or at best causing a huge political embarrassment - say, by claiming the thing as their own?

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268358)

s there a lock on the door? I know it's far-fetched, but assuming someone had the capability - what would keep some 'rouge' entity (nation or otherwise) from launching themselves into orbit, occupying the thing and... well... at worst, de-orbiting it into a population center or at best causing a huge political embarrassment - say, by claiming the thing as their own?

True, but we could blow it out of the sky with a missile. It would make a big ol' could of debris, but at least gigantic chunks wouldn't survive re-entry (I assume).

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

n5vb (587569) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268732)

If it's on a re-entry trajectory, it's going to land where it's going to land, and it would take a very large missile indeed to reduce it to small enough pieces to not pose a serious threat. The main truss itself is made of some very large and massive pieces. But again, de-orbiting it would take a fairly large amount of energy they'd have to bring with them. Other than that, the big worry would be vandalism of various sorts.

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

Truth is life (1184975) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269124)

Actually, gigantic chunks of debris could survive reentry--it's actually surprisingly bad at destroying things completely. Look up how much survived on Skylab's reentry, for instance, or how much survived of Columbia.

However, there's no real risk of some dictator flying up and occupying the place, since (given that the Russian fleet is currently grounded) there is exactly one other country currently capable of flying to the ISS: China. And there's obviously no reason for them to use the ISS as a colony drop weapon, since they possess a number of cheaper and more effective nuclear weapons, and in any event would mostly just lose from a major war (imagine both the Russian and American stockpiles being targeted at them...ouch).

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268424)

All the recent news about the possibility of leaving ISS uninhabited got me to thinking....

Is there a lock on the door?

Imagine if you went for a spacewalk and locked yourself out... you couldn't exactly open a window to climb back inside :).

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

Elros (735454) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268462)

Of course there is. It's a new type called an air-lock.

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (2)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268500)

what would keep some 'rouge' entity (nation or otherwise) from launching themselves into orbit

Damn communists. Always trying to steal our shit.

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268594)

There's only a hand full of nations with the technical capability, much less the financial ability to launch something up that far. Most of them have a lot invested into the ISS. Blowing it up or something would be a tremendous waste. There's much easier ways to destroy a city.

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269038)

But interestingly, the ONE government that ISN'T part of the ISS that does have a space program (China) uses a docking collar [wikipedia.org] that will mate with the ISS.

Funny that.

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269300)

What? A country developing a space program decides to use a technology that would allow them to interoperate with the various other countries who are already in space? Thus making it easier for them to join international coalitions, which have been shown to be the most effective way to carry out actitvities in space? Imagine that....

And here I thought slashdot was for open standards...

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269502)

Kinda easier since Shonzu is based on Soyuz, but it does rather make sense.

All your base belong to us!

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269380)

Just imagine what a good will gesture it would be if China restocked the ISS while the Russian program is grounded.

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (2)

n5vb (587569) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268678)

De-orbiting it would require a spacecraft docked to it. As far as I know it has no maneuvering capability of its own, and the only delta-V available to modify its orbit (including de-orbiting it) is in the Progress or Soyuz thrust stage (and previously was sometimes assisted by the Shuttle OMS engines).

The worst-case rogue scenario would be a rogue nation with a secret launch capability to put something with a compatible docking system into the ISS' orbit. The only country I know of that's close would be China (maybe) and I don't know if the Shenzhou uses a docking system that's compatible with the NASA APAS system.

And you can rest assured that if anyone were making preparations to fly a mission like that, a number of major intel organizations would be asking a lot of questions and making a lot of briefings, so it wouldn't stay secret for long once an actual spacecraft stack starts coming together at a launch facility ..

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269054)

I don't know if the Shenzhou uses a docking system that's compatible with the NASA APAS system.

Is is [wikipedia.org] . Not that I think they would do it. There would be no upside and it would create a great uproar. But theoretically, they could do it.

Huge PR Upside (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269262)

There would be no upside

Dear ISS consortium,

We have boarded the ISS with five Chinese astronauts. We weren't afraid to launch, and we'll take care of the station for you until you are able to return to space. We'll be happy to cooperate with you on station logistics if you wish.

Sincerely,
PRC

and it would create a great uproar.

Oh, hell yes.

Re:Huge PR Upside (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269480)

"hey, what's this with the Tang?

it's got all these noodles in it!

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268886)

what would keep some 'rouge' entity (nation or otherwise) from ... occupying the thing

Are you saying that Sarah Palin is going to try to take over the ISS? She could certainly cause huge political embarrassment.

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269032)

All the recent news about the possibility of leaving ISS uninhabited got me to thinking....

Is there a lock on the door?

Better hope so, to keep out the vermicious knids!

Re:Leaving ISS Uninhabited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37271242)

No worries. Scramjets can't fly outside the atmosphere.

Salvage Rights in Orbit? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269236)

say, by claiming the thing as their own?

What are salvage rights in orbit? Space X could probably get people up there in an impressive amount of time if they were so motivated.

Re:Salvage Rights in Orbit? (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269342)

Under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty (the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space), nations retain "jurisdiction and control" over their spacecraft even when they are inoperable.

Sorry, no salvage. It's a shame really.

That being said, the US Gov't could make a deal with SpaceX who could then operate under their aegis, but I don't think that's particularly likely.

Flamebait ahead (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268900)

Just think, if we still had the space shuttle, this would be a non-issue. Thanks US gov't!

Re:Flamebait ahead (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268956)

Just think, if we still had the space shuttle, this would be a non-issue. Thanks US gov't!

Except the 'rescue plan' for the shuttle was that next time the heat shield was fatally damaged the crew would hang around at the space station until a couple of Soyuz capsules could take them back... otherwise you'd have to launch another shuttle and hope the same thing didn't happen on that launch.

The real truth is that this is what happens when you design a system with a single point of failure. Having lost a couple of rockets the Russians can now say they need billions to redesign components before the next Soyuz launch and NASA either pay up or leave ISS empty.

Re:Flamebait ahead (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269156)

Except the 'rescue plan' for the shuttle was that next time the heat shield was fatally damaged the crew would hang around at the space station until a couple of Soyuz capsules could take them back... otherwise you'd have to launch another shuttle and hope the same thing didn't happen on that launch.

Well, in fairness to the Shuttle, the rescue plan was not entirely sensible. Afterall, the safety records are very, very similar. They have both lost two launches, but the shuttle has launched more in total. But the shuttle has lost a slightly larger fraction of passengers.

If anything, the Shuttle is a much more proven launch system. It has put more orbiters and a lot more people into space than Soyuz.

Re:Flamebait ahead (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#37273356)

Soyuz Rocket - Launches 1700
Shuttle - Launches 135

In what way is the Shuttle ".. a much more proven launch system. It has put more orbiters and a lot more people into space than Soyuz .." ...or are you only counting one variant of the Soyuz, in which case which of the three variants currently used are you counting ?

This is the advantage of evolving a system rather than scrapping everything and redesigning from scratch every so often

Re:Flamebait ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274210)

I with you on this one, 14 people have died in the space shuttle...

Re:Flamebait ahead (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269294)

Having lost a couple of rockets the Russians can now say they need billions to redesign components before the next Soyuz launch and NASA either pay up or leave ISS empty.

Ooooohh. And the lost ship was just carrying food and fuel. Got it.

Does Nasa have any plan to have 1 more shuttle (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268938)

Does Nasa have any plan to have 1 more shuttle launch. There was some talk of having a backup shuttle lunch ready to fly but not a plan to have a mission.

Is there the parts out there to slap a mission together to get to the ISS.

Re:Does Nasa have any plan to have 1 more shuttle (1)

ultraexactzz (546422) | more than 3 years ago | (#37268988)

Even if it could fly, all the shuttle could do would be to swap the 6 people up there for 6 different people. The issue is that the soyuz spacecraft already at the station have to come back to earth in October and November, as they cannot stay in orbit for more than 6 months without failing. Without new soyuz to replace the old, there would be no way for astronauts to escape back to earth - and, therefore, no astronauts.

Re:Does Nasa have any plan to have 1 more shuttle (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269274)

The plan you're thinking about became STS-135. They had to prep the shuttle, etc as a rescue backup for STS-134 which was the last scheduled mission. There was a lot of talk about converting it to a full mission if they could get funding. They eventually did, and it flew with a crew of only 4, so that they didn't need a shuttle backup (they could stay on the station and return via Soyuz capsules).

There is pretty much no way to resurrect the shuttle fleet at this point. The orbiters are being dismantled and converted to museum pieces, and the infrastructure needed to launch them is gone.

What about the Battlestar Galactica? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37271428)

If Battlestar Galactica taught use anything, it is that museum-bound space ships can be brought back into service to defeat robotic overlords.

Re:Does Nasa have any plan to have 1 more shuttle (1)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269304)

Not any more.

That backup shuttle launch you're talking about already flew. It was STS-135 Atlantis. Originally STS-134 was to be the last shuttle launch, with Atlantis as backup rescue vehicle. In the end they found the money to launch Atlantis (it was nearly ready to launch, otherwise it couldn't have been the backup). The problem was that it didn't have a backup, which they solved by flying a smaller crew, so they could be evacuated by soyuz if needed.
As far as I know, it used the very last external fuel tank and also the very last of some other stuff. There are no spare parts anymore and production facilities have been dismantled.

Re:Does Nasa have any plan to have 1 more shuttle (1)

IDarkISwordI (811835) | more than 3 years ago | (#37269484)

They're well on their way to being museum pieces. Much has already been removed from the shuttles, including the highly important Space Shuttle Main Engines; those are to be used on SLS whenever that gets around to being constructed.

Another option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37268990)

The problem is that Soyuz vehicles parked at ISS are close to they designed life span (batteries, chemicals, etc...) and they cannot let astronauts stay up there without certified Soyuz to come back in. Sending a new crew with new Soyuz is too risky.

They still have rather expensive option to send a new unmanned Soyuz up without risking human life and let three (of the current six crew members) volunteer for another shift.

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