The Russian Space Program

Its woes continue, with another Soyuz launch failure, because the Fregat fired in the wrong direction. Now probably Atlantic-stationary orbit.

Here’s the story from Doug Messier.

[Afternoon update]

Meanwhile, back in the USA, NASA (and the ASAP) is still stupidly obsessing over safety.

This is nuts. Soyuz capsules aren’t armored to that MMOD requirement. As I just emailed a high-level NASA official, why don’t we just quit flying?

7 thoughts on “The Russian Space Program”

    1. Roystgnr, no, that’s not applicable to this launch, which did successfully go to space.

      All that occurred is that the destination attained was a sub-optimal orbit (Solar-centric, under the North Atlantic).

      It’s also worth remembering that the spacecraft is named “Meteor”, which makes it very appropriately named in this instance.

      People are just too nit-picky when it comes to the Russian space program. I remember when one of their Mars probes, instead of exploring Mars, decided to explore South America. People called that a failure too. Same with the Proton launch you’re referring to; we call it a success when SpaceX does RTLS, and that Proton launch was not only RTLS, but a far faster RTLS than SpaceX has done.

  1. I had hoped that the gap would cause increased public attention but it hasn’t, which is good for NASA because non-space cadets would be pissed over NASA’s delays and continued reliance on Russia.

  2. NASA’s requirements now call for a statistical limit of no more than one possible fatal accident per 270 flights. By contrast, scheduled airlines experience roughly one accident per one million departures globally.

    Is this possibly because they don’t expect any of these vehicles to do a million trips rather than an indication that they wouldn’t be safe to fly in those volumes?

  3. Anatoly Zak is reporting an embarrassing suspected cause for Tuesday’s Soyuz failure — that the Fregat upper stage “did not have the correct settings for the mission originating from the new launch site in Vostochny, as apposed to routine launches from Baikonur and Plesetsk. As a result, as soon as Fregat and its cargo separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle, its flight control system began commanding a change of orientation of the stack to compensate for what the computer had perceived as a deviation from the correct attitude, which was considerable.”

    1. The NSF thread for this launch has still photos and video of the reentry taken by airline pilots crossing the North Atlantic, and using this they are narrowing down the specific area of reentry.

      One interesting comment from that thread says, “NSA collects all the telemetry signals [of Russian space launches] with its own satellites. Unlike the depleted Russian ground station net, NSA has complete coverage without blind spots, so probably Washington has a better idea than Moscow as to what really happened.”

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