Progress ISS cargo flight: FAILURE


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DocM

There are 3 cargo flights coming up: Dragon CRS-7, Japan's HTV and later a Cygnus launched on an Atlas V. More Dragons later in the year.

SatNews story,

http://www.satnews.com/story.php?number=1840676647

Progress Spacecraft Anomaly Noted By Vandenberg Air Force Base' Joint Functional Component Command

[satNews] Joint Functional Component Command for Space's Joint Space Operations Center made an initial observation of an anomaly with an International Space Station Progress resupply cargo craft at 12:04 a.m. (3:04 a.m. EDT), today, April 28, 2015.

The JSpOC immediately began tracking the event and initiated the appropriate reporting procedures. Currently, the JSpOC can confirm that the resupply vehicle is rotating at a rate of 360 degrees every five seconds. Additionally, the JSpOC has observed 44 pieces of debris in the vicinity of the resupply vehicle and its upper stage rocket body; however, it cannot confirm at this time if the debris is from the rocket body or vehicle itself.

"Human spaceflight safety is our chief concern," said Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond, JFCC Space and 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) Commander. "We will continue to monitor the situation and work with our government, international and industry partners to ensure the safety of the astronauts onboard the ISS and provide for the long-term safety, sustainability, security and stability of the space domain."

The JSpOC will continuously track the cargo craft and debris, performing conjunction analysis and warning of any potential collisions in order to ensure spaceflight safety for all. Any questions regarding the ISS should be directed to NASA and questions about the cargo craft and the ongoing attempts to command it should be directed to Russian flight controllers.

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Macsen Overdrive

This pretty much confirms my suspicion: upper stage re-contact. The upper stage ended up colliding with the Progress shortly after it separated.

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geertd

From DUncan Law green twitter

.@Astro_Jonny Current theories are collision with third stage of rocket, or explosion on Progress itself. Uncontrolled reentry within days.

.@Astro_Jonny Unresponsive to commands, attitude/rate sensors failed, propellant heavily depleted, debris cloud in vicinity. It's gone.

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DocM

Yup, sounds like it's a goner. Now the investigation progressing to a circular firing squad starts.

IF this was an upper stage malfunction the May 26 Soyuz crew flight shouldn't be a problem - different control systems etc.

If this was a spacecraft/service module failure, that's an entirely different matter.

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Macsen Overdrive

Doesn't sound like enough fragments for a total explosion. If there was a total explosion, it would be a lot more fragments, and a much wider spread. Plus, I doubt they'd get any signal from it. Any explosion involved here would've been a small scale.

 

Like I said earlier, when I heard it was tumbling, I immediately thought it was a re-contact. That's the technical term for a collision between rocket stages after separation, or upper stage and payload after separation.

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DocM

It could also be a tank rupture in the Progress service module, but recontact is more likely.

More bad news,

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/egyptsat2.html#problems

EgyptSat-2 fails in orbit

In April 2015, rumors surfaced on the Internet that the EgyptSat-2 either completely failed in orbit or experienced attitude control problems. There were no official confirmation or denial from the official sources, but if the satellite was lost, it would functioned only one year out of 11-year life span in its technical specifications. It would also repeat an ill fate of its Ukrainian-built predecessor, which had also failed prematurely.

According to industry sources, an expected dual failure in the flight control system rendered the satellite completely inoperable. The spacecraft apparently stopped reacting to commands from the ground, despite all efforts of mission control.

By the end of April, the official Russian media confirmed the loss of the satellite citing unnamed sources. A report by the Interfax news agency said that both flight control computers onboard the spacecraft failed within 15 seconds of each other on April 12, 2015. According to the Izvestiya daily, the satellite failed on April 14

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DocM

Javascript is not enabled or refresh the page to view.

Click here to view the Tweet

http://tass.ru/en/non-political/792406

MOSCOW, April 29. /TASS/. Specialists have arrived at the conclusion that controlled deorbiting of the cargo spacecraft Progress M-27M is impossible, a source in the space rocket industry has told TASS.

"Specialists have agreed that Progress is hopeless. Its controlled deorbiting is impossible," he said.

"Commands were sent many a time. None of them worked," the source said.

Earlier, a source said that three of Wednesday

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Unobscured Vision

Recontact event is the more likely scenario, but they aren't ruling out a dual failure of the FCS either.

 

Interesting.

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ks8877

Amazing long successful record of Progress spacecraft starting in January 1978 and to this day - it's 158th Progress flight, (excluding one failed to orbit because of premature third stage cutoff) - all successful, but this one...

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DocM

Progress isn't not perfect. In 1997 Progress collided with MIR's solar arrays and Spektr module, damaging the arrays and puncturing Spektr.

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Unobscured Vision

Agreed, there's a pretty good track record with Progress. The platform is very solid, and an anomaly could happen with any component on any Program. Space Travel is not completely perfect.

 

Roscosmos will dust themselves off and carry on. Obviously they'd like to know what caused the failure, but without better data it's likely impossible to know for sure.

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DocM

Annotated ([...]) Roscosmos comments,

The 3rd stage flight went fully nominal, but 1.5 seconds before spacecraft separation telemetry was lost from both 3rd stage and spacecraft.

We used a backup channel to regain some telemetry from the spacecraft [no 3rd stage telemetry]. Many spacecraft systems function off-nominaly. We have lost pressure in the fuel lines leading to the [Progress] main engine.

We are planning to press ahead with another [crew] launch on May 26th, but this launch will use a different rocket.[soyuz 2]

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Unobscured Vision

So it wasn't a recontact event, but a possible fuel line rupture immediately before separation? That could indicate a problem with a pre-separation procedure (likely controlled by the computer as it was preparing for separation), such as exceeding a maximum design limit of a propellant line (connected to one or more thrusters) as it prepared it for use, or the fuel lines themselves could be faulty.

 

My goodness. That could be bad for future flights that use the same hardware. If the line is defective, those need to be checked for integrity immediately.

 

If the computer(s) are at fault (less likely), the software needs to be checked. The fact that repeated restart commands were ignored says that the computers were in a "hard lockup" condition. Hardware failures in both computers at the same time are quite unlikely (bordering on impossible), so it has to be a software issue if that was the point of failure.

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ks8877

Progress isn't not perfect. In 1997 Progress collided with MIR's solar arrays and Spektr module, damaging the arrays and puncturing Spektr.

Just to clerify that 1997 collision: it was after Progress was used in regular way and after departure they try additional test with new manual control of Progress. Vasily Tsibliev took remote control of the Progress resupply vehicle and fired its rockets to propel the craft toward the Mir Space Station. In ways, the procedure was similar to playing a video arcade game. Tsibliev had to virtually "fly" the Progress from onboard Mir while he watched a video screen that showed an image from a camera onboard the Progress. By the time Tsibliev could judge the speed, the Progress was already traveling too fast. He fired the braking rockets, but it was too late. So it was human factor in fault more than Progress itself.

...

I am worried about another possible issue. In the view of rising competition from SpaceX, russians probably losing interest for space cargo business and may be already allocated less resources for producing new Progress crafts and could have worse quality as result... We do not know, but it's possible.

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Draggendrop

http://www.n2yo.com/info/?a=44

 

Reentry predictions?.....

(Trying to post the link...hope it worked...newbee... :) )

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DocM

Hoping S. Pacific.

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Draggendrop

Hoping S. Pacific.

Looks like you may be right...at this time, it is approaching off the north coast of Australia heading to the south Pacific....

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Beittil

No, it is gone already :)

@planet4589: USSTRATCOM/NORAD report that Progress M-27M reentered 0220 UTC +/- 1 min. This is credible, probably based on infrared satellite data

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DocM

RIP Progress

Ling live CRS 2

;)

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Beittil

For those that missed it, as part of the fall-out from the Progress loss the ISS crewmembers that were supposed to go home today will now be staying an additional couple of weeks untill early June.

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FloatingFatMan

Given the Russians track record recently, I do hope SpaceX are keeping a Dragon available in reserve in case some urgent supplies are needed up there...

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DocM

Even with Expedition 43 staying there would't be 2 US side crewmembers to unload Dragon CRS-7 in late June or early July, and Expedition 44 may not fly with a full relief crew until after Dragon CRS-7's scheduled date. Russia is trying to hurry another Progress, and a Japanese HTV is on for August. A total C-F.

This Progress failure has highlighted, in 2000 point day-glo orange text, how big a fail not having multi-redundant vehicles for cargo and crew is.

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FloatingFatMan

What would happen if the next Progress fails?

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