Progress ISS cargo flight: FAILURE


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DocM

A sh**storm?

Seriously, that could ground Russian vehicles until after the investigation and put even more pressure on Dragon and getting Cygnus flying regularly. An Enhanced Cygnus (stretched, center below) is on for an Atlas V launch November 19, 2015.

Accelerate Dragon 2? Possible, but the flight abort and the IDA docking ports have to fly first.

Cygnus variants

Cygnus-Congigurations.jpg

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Draggendrop

What would happen if the next Progress fails?

I may be wrong, but I thought there was an "expiry date" for the Russian escape module (ie 200 days for systems use). Could emergency escape also be a problem as well as supply depletion. As a side note, I wonder if Dragon2, in present state of development, could be used in an extreme emergency to rescue crew should an unthinkable event occur..... :(  

Oooops..posted too soon, got DocM reply just as I posted...Cheers... 

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SALSN

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.

Sounds like a weird reaction, if anything, they should leave earlier, since they now have less provisions than expected?!

 

I wonder if Dragon2, in present state of development, could be used in an extreme emergency to rescue crew should an unthinkable event occur..... :( 

As far as I understand they always have enough capsules docked to the ISS to send all the inhabitants home.

If one of them broke, perhaps an emergency solution would be in order, I don't think they have redundancy?

Anyway, the docking port for the Dragon 2 has not been installed yet, and is flying up with the next dragon (1) mission as far as I recall.

But I guess they could always just lay on the floor of the cargo dragon and hope for the best :-P

(Everything is written from memory, so a fact check might be in order, but I have to go to bed now :-P )

 

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Draggendrop

Sounds like a weird reaction, if anything, they should leave earlier, since they now have less provisions than expected?!

 

As far as I understand they always have enough capsules docked to the ISS to send all the inhabitants home.

If one of them broke, perhaps an emergency solution would be in order, I don't think they have redundancy?

Anyway, the docking port for the Dragon 2 has not been installed yet, and is flying up with the next dragon (1) mission as far as I recall.

But I guess they could always just lay on the floor of the cargo dragon and hope for the best :-P

(Everything is written from memory, so a fact check might be in order, but I have to go to bed now :-P )

 

Thank's for the reply. I went checking on a few sources. I did not know, but at one time a CRV (Crew Return Vehicle) was in the works but was cancelled when Russia paired up with the  ISS, The Soyuz TMA's were now to be used, 3 person each BUT, the capsules do have a "shelf Life" and are rotated out every 6 months due to the corrosive fuel eating tanks, among other things. It would appear to be a real problem as DocM has stated, if a multiple failure or "grounding" of craft were to occur. We definitely need alternate "sources of transport"...Cheers...

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Draggendrop

Just an amendment to my prior post, I had checked multiple sources but did not know the verification of these sources and did not include them...So with a "grain of salt", it appears that the TMA-M have life support abilities of 30 person days, and 200 day "shelf life". I assume the 30 person days would be 10 days for a 3 person crew. It appears the TMA-M can be used for evacuation with a 3.5 hour return sequence for departure. Surprisingly, there are quite a few "user manuals" available for Progress, Soyuz launchers and TMA-M from sites such as ESA, Arianespace and Russian space sources in pdf format. I have some reading to do....Sorry about the unverified sources...Cheers...

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FloatingFatMan

So, the crew DO have an emergency means of returning if essential supplies can't be lifted in time?

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Beittil

Of course. The Soyuz ships they came in are their lifeboats as well!

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DocM

The problem is that you can't really launch new Soyuz to re-crew and serve as lifeboats during an investigation, and another loss of a Progress (or, God forbid, a Soyuz) could cause an extensive grounding.

Depending on the initial 'cause theory,' ex: a guidance or maneuvering system failure, it may even preclude the lifeboats use to return to Earth.

There's a lot of ways this could go to Hell in a handbasket.

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FloatingFatMan

TBH, around about now, if I were in the right position to do so, I'd be chucking money at SpaceX and asking them to ramp up production and testing of their crewed vehicle, just in case.

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DocM

The milestone payments for the required R&D and tests has been budgeted. Not sure you can speed things up just by throwing more money at it. That hasn't worked with other govt. programs & projects for >50 years.

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Unobscured Vision

Especially with all the static SpaceX and the other "New Generation" companies have been running into trying to get their gear certified and tested. Nobody would like the new systems to be on-line more than they would, but these things take time. Exhaustive testing, retesting, test some more, then prove to the "adults" that you know what you're doing .. it can be tedious and frustrating, but the process is as it is for a reason.

 

After all, as far as the "established space companies" are concerned (ULA, Lockheed/Martin, etc), these new companies are "the new kids" and need to prove themselves.

 

No worries, folks. Things will work out.

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DocM

Imagine the migraines when OldSpace has to deal with not only SpaceX but Blue Origin, Orbital Sciences and at least 2 other outfits flying affordable launchers.

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Draggendrop

With the crew extension, the female record for time in space will be broken But...one TMA-M will be slightly over 200 days....I assume the engineering  safety factor will cover them.

 

Imagine the migraines when OldSpace has to deal with not only SpaceX but Blue Origin, Orbital Sciences and at least 2 other outfits flying affordable launchers.

It will be great to see all the "young guns" revolutionize space travel....Cheers.... :D

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Unobscured Vision

Propellant Tanks ruptured on the Soyuz Upper Stage, eh. I knew it was either a fuel/propellant rupture (tanks or lines) or flight computer failure.

 

It took an investigation to get Roscosmos to finally come clean about what happened. Shame on them. They can't not have known about that problem when it occurred.

 

Anyway, they'll find out what went wrong and deal with it. Hopefully in the future they'll be more direct and forthright. This kind of thing can (and WILL) lose business for their organization.

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DocM

Sounds like yet another quality control problem.

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Unobscured Vision

Yep. :( And it's likely that they use those same tanks on all Soyuz-Class craft. Those will need to be checked for integrity before installation, now. Those units that have already been installed will likely need to be removed and inspected in the same fashion.

 

Another Soyuz TMA prepped for flight in a month means that it's going through final certification for flight readiness -- so it's likely that the tanks in that one will have come from the same lot as the ones in Progress that failed. If they don't check those, and there's another failure, Roscosmos will have a massive debacle on their hands, not limited to gross negligence for using them. I truly hope they err on the side of caution, as Russian common sense dictates that they adhere to.

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Draggendrop

Yep. :( And it's likely that they use those same tanks on all Soyuz-Class craft. Those will need to be checked for integrity before installation, now. Those units that have already been installed will likely need to be removed and inspected in the same fashion.

 

Another Soyuz TMA prepped for flight in a month means that it's going through final certification for flight readiness -- so it's likely that the tanks in that one will have come from the same lot as the ones in Progress that failed. If they don't check those, and there's another failure, Roscosmos will have a massive debacle on their hands, not limited to gross negligence for using them. I truly hope they err on the side of caution, as Russian common sense dictates that they adhere to.

This link is informative...about the Progress composition...

http://www.space.com/12725-russia-progress-cargo-spacecraft-infographic.html

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Unobscured Vision

Progress and Soyuz-TMA use much of the same hardware to save on production time & cost. The Soyuz platform is a very flight-proven design, having flown for 30+ years and has been continually upgraded the whole time. But Roscosmos needs to be careful -- they are prudent, common-sense, and quite expert at what they do, and they don't need another accident that potentially takes the lives of three people when it could have been avoided.

 

Those tanks need to be inspected for manufacturing defects -- the entire production run of those tanks using that shipment of materials, personnel, equipment, and installation practices. They need to be absolutely certain the failure won't happen again, because human lives will depend on it. Nothing left to chance.

 

If it turns out that the Progress failure was caused by a strike from a piece of space debris (entirely possible), then the notion of cleaning up launch corridors needs to be revisited.

 

I suppose that's the point I'm trying to make.

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Draggendrop

I see what you mean. What compounds this even worse is the corrosive fuel generating the "shelf life" for "good tanks". You are right...They need to really put  emphasis on the quality control of these units and do an inspection on all tanks and processes.....cheers...

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Unobscured Vision

Those propellants are pretty rough on whatever they are being held in. There are stories about how nasty Hypergolics (in particular) are on storage tanks. The stuff Soyuz uses isn't nearly as extreme, but the metals are subjected to extremes of cold and pressure and become quite brittle if the alloy isn't perfect. Launch forces, not to mention the vibration itself, could easily damage and even outright shatter a tank that isn't up to specs.

 

I'd be very interested in metallurgical testing of those Progress tanks, if they can even find any that survived reentry. I'd bet a box of Twinkies that there are anomalies in the alloy's composition unrelated to reentry heating and seawater. What they CAN do, however, is take a look at the tanks whose alloy was mixed and poured into moulds the same day (preferably within a few hours) as the ones used in Progress and check for any irregularities in the alloy, as well as run full integrity checks on the tanks themselves. They'll likely reproduce the failure on the ground at that point.

 

Cheers!

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Draggendrop

Those propellants are pretty rough on whatever they are being held in. There are stories about how nasty Hypergolics (in particular) are on storage tanks. The stuff Soyuz uses isn't nearly as extreme, but the metals are subjected to extremes of cold and pressure and become quite brittle if the alloy isn't perfect. Launch forces, not to mention the vibration itself, could easily damage and even outright shatter a tank that isn't up to specs.

 

I'd be very interested in metallurgical testing of those Progress tanks, if they can even find any that survived reentry. I'd bet a box of Twinkies that there are anomalies in the alloy's composition unrelated to reentry heating and seawater. What they CAN do, however, is take a look at the tanks whose alloy was mixed and poured into moulds the same day (preferably within a few hours) as the ones used in Progress and check for any irregularities in the alloy, as well as run full integrity checks on the tanks themselves. They'll likely reproduce the failure on the ground at that point.

 

Cheers!

That would be the way to do it...similar to industrial QC and QA......You are right about the harsh environment those tanks are subjected to.... Makes you wonder about the integrity of the tanks installed on the TMA-M's on the ISS, more so as 200 days approach. I hope the Dragon V2 docking mechanism will be on CRS7...one step closer to an alternate...Cheers... 

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Unobscured Vision

All of the above is assuming that it wasn't a space debris strike, of course. ;)

 

Cheers!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Draggendrop

Russia just completed a surprise launch with same rocket as the Progress failure....

 

 

 

Russia has launched its Soyuz 2-1A rocket in a surprise mission from the Plesetsk cosmodrome at 15:24 UTC. The launch, using a rocket that recently failed during the Progress M-27M mission, was clouded under secrecy due to its payload, the Kobalt-M spy satellite

post-546174-0-97675200-1433662664.jpg

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Unobscured Vision

I'm pretty sure they went over that third stage with a very keen eye before launch. :yes:

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