NASA NASA global warming satellite crashes after launch

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Evo

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Ouch, $289 million. I wonder why it malfunctioned?

NASA mission to monitor global warming from space ended Tuesday when a satellite plunged into the ocean near Antarctica minutes after launch. An equipment malfunction was apparently to blame, officials said. The loss of the $280 million mission came a month after Japan launched the world's first spacecraft to track global warming emissions.

The failure dealt a blow to NASA, which had hoped to send up its own satellite to measure carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas behind human-caused global warming.

Three minutes into the flight, the nose cone protecting the satellite failed to come off as designed, NASA officials said. The extra weight from the cover caused the rocket to dive back to Earth, splashing into the ocean near Antarctica, where a group of environment ministers from more than a dozen countries met Monday to get the latest science on global warming.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090224/ap_on_sc/sci_carbon_satellite [Broken]
 
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mgb_phys

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Ouch, $289 million. I wonder why it malfunctioned?
Thats pretty cheap for an Earth observation mission.

It obviously hit the crystal sphere that surrounds the Earth and keeps out the waters of the heavens and to which the fixed stars are attached. Thus disproving the 'theory' of orbits and gravity that so many so-called-scientists are proposing.
 
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Q_Goest

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lol @ mgb_phys

Apparantly the nose cone didn't separate. Here's a picture of it:
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/taurus/oco/preflight/08.jpg

Here's some background:
The Taurus rocket's 63-inch diameter payload fairing is built by the Vermont Composites division for Orbital Sciences. The fairing's two halves are made of graphite-epoxy composite materials with an aluminum honeycomb core. This particular shroud has performed well in its five previous Taurus missions before today's mishap.

According to the Taurus Users Guide, the two halves of the fairing are structurally joined along their longitudinal interface using a frangible joint system. An additional circumferential frangible joint at the base of the fairing attaches the fairing to the upper stage assembly.

"At separation, a gas pressurization system is activated to pressurize the fairing deployment thrusters. The fairing halves then rotate about external hinges that control the fairing deployment to ensure that payload and launch vehicle clearances are maintained. All elements of the deployment system have been demonstrated through test to comply with stringent contamination requirements."
And an explanation of what happened:
John Brunschwyler, Taurus program manager from Orbital Sciences, explains what was supposed to happen during the nose cone separation and what actually occurred this morning:

"The fairing separates by a sequence of electrical pulses that drive ordnance. The clamshell fairing is a two-piece device and it's separated first with four pulses from an electronics box. These are two primary pulses and two redundant pulses, which separate along the fairing rails, which is the vertical part, if you will, of the fairing. About 80 milliseconds later, the base joint is severed in a similar fashion, that is with four pulses - two primary and two redundant.

"We have confirmation that the correct sequence was sent by the software. We had good power going into this event, and we also had healthy indications of our electronics box that sent the signal. Once that time had passed, which was about three minutes into the flight, we observed various pieces of telemetry that, of course, we then tried to correlate. Because at first, being humans, we don't necessarily believe one piece of data and we need to correlate the various pieces to kind of come to a conclusion. And indeed we did come to a conclusion later in the flight."

The pieces of the telemetry puzzle that showed the fairing had failed to separate included the breakwire signals not indicating a jettison, the fairing temperature sensors continuing to function later during ascent and engineers not seeing the jump in acceleration that was expected after fairing would have been shed.

"As a direct result of carrying that extra weight, we could not make orbit," Brunschwyler said.
Ref: http://spaceflightnow.com/taurus/oco/status.html
 

Evo

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Thanks Q_Goest, but MGB's explanation is much easier to swallow.
 
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Anti-AGW conspiracy anyone?:yuck:

One good thing about this: Kepler launches in about 10 days, what are the chances of back-to-back failures? Hopefully not good, if one of the two had to fail, I'm glad it was OCO.:devil:
 

mgb_phys

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One good thing about this: Kepler launches in about 10 days, what are the chances of back-to-back failures?
If you believe that - I can sell you a coin that came up heads last time, so next time it will come up tails and you can bet heavily on it!

Fortunately Kepler is being launched on a rocket that actually works (Delta II)
 
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If you believe that - I can sell you a coin that came up heads last time, so next time it will come up tails and you can bet heavily on it!
How much?!

But yes I know, I have a vague understanding of probabilities...but anything to put my mind at ease because I really don't want this one to blow up! :cry:But maybe this accident will prompt scientists and engineers to check over every detail one extra time. Sorta like rigging that coin to have its chances of coming up tails slightly improved. I'd buy that coin.:biggrin:
 

mgb_phys

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The DeltaII is amazingly reliable - only one 'kerboom' in 140 launches.
 
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And thats whats known as "amazingly reliable" in the aerospace industry?
 

Q_Goest

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Actually, it is... but this wasn't a Delta.
 

mgb_phys

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And thats whats known as "amazingly reliable" in the aerospace industry?
It is in the launch business, that's why anything that matters (eg. GPS) goes up on a Delta rather than the shuttle.

Actually, it is... but this wasn't a Delta.
That was referring to the upcoming Kepler launch.

Back to somebodies point about launching a repalcement cheaply.
It's always tricky to say how much of the $280M sticker price a copy would cost.
The R+D and design have been done and a lot of the components will have flight spares.
But much of the money would be earmarked for support costs and salaries of the researchers. They would have to be paid for the time it would take to build a replacement or they would move to a new areas and other researchers would have to start again.

In the case of Hubble, with the delays after the challenger accident and the huge scale of the STSCI the price of the craft was probably only 10% of the project cost.
 

Evo

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I think this affects one of my more recent ex-boyfriends. He's Director and Senior Research Scientist at Colorado State University, in Ft Colins, CO. He has a PhD in Atmoshpheric Science. He gets to report in person to Congress on "global warming".

Oh well, it gives me an excuse to e-mail him. Super nice guy. I must have been crazy to let him go.

<sigh>
 

mgb_phys

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That's why i never worked on space stuff.
Some friends of mine were working on WIRE (an infrared space telescope) after a couple of aborted launches it went up perfectly, pointed itself at the sun and boiled off all it's liquid helium. Game over.
 

Evo

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That's why i never worked on space stuff.
Some friends of mine were working on WIRE (an infrared space telescope) after a couple of aborted launches it went up perfectly, pointed itself at the sun and boiled off all it's liquid helium. Game over.
:rofl:
 

mgb_phys

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Just checked the details it's even worse.
It was deliberately pointed at the Earth to establish comms, but the lens cap had ejected too soon and the brightness of the Earth seen through the telescope was enough to boil off all the cryogen.
 

Evo

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Just checked the details it's even worse.
It was deliberately pointed at the Earth to establish comms, but the lens cap had ejected too soon and the brightness of the Earth seen through the telescope was enough to boil off all the cryogen.
Oh dear.
 

Astronuc

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The rocket actually worked, but the last piece, the fairing on the payload section failed.

The rocket is a Taurus, which is manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corp.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurus_(rocket [Broken])

They've had 2 failures in eight launches. :uhh:

With the reduced mass after the fairing falls away, the satellite should have made orbit - in a near polar orbit. With the mass of the fairing, it didn't make the necessary ΔV.
 
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BobG

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The DeltaII is amazingly reliable - only one 'kerboom' in 140 launches.
Not only is it reliable, it can melt tire rims.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=appMDzLeT_Q


A view from further away.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdBwjtgHDi8
 

Astronuc

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fluidistic

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That may sound funny but I'm a bit saddened to learn about the failure of the mission. It seemed an interesting study that just won't happen for now. I hope they'll launch another satellite with the same goals and that it will be safer.
 

BobG

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Anti-AGW conspiracy anyone?:yuck:

One good thing about this: Kepler launches in about 10 days, what are the chances of back-to-back failures? Hopefully not good, if one of the two had to fail, I'm glad it was OCO.:devil:
As interesting as the Kepler mission is, we could probably take a delay in its mission with less impact than a delay in the OCO mission.

Finding an Earth size planet would be very exciting and finding an Earth size planet that might be capable of supporting life would be even more exciting. But, it will be decades or longer before we might possibly do something about any discoveries from Kepler.

The OCO would have obtained information about a problem that could impact us a lot sooner.
 
If you believe that - I can sell you a coin that came up heads last time, so next time it will come up tails and you can bet heavily on it!

Fortunately Kepler is being launched on a rocket that actually works (Delta II)
i understand what you're saying, but it's a misuse of probability.
 
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But yes I know, I have a vague understanding of probabilities...but anything to put my mind at ease because I really don't want this one to blow up! But maybe this accident will prompt scientists and engineers to check over every detail one extra time. Sorta like rigging that coin to have its chances of coming up tails slightly improved. I'd buy that coin.
Looks like they are checking it (Kepler) over again:

NASA has delayed the planned launch of its new planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft next week by one day to allow time for extra rocket checks after the agency's latest satellite crashed into ocean on Tuesday.

The nearly $600 million Kepler mission is now slated to blast off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 6 at 10:49 p.m. EST (0349 March 7 GMT), NASA officials announced late Thursday.

The extra day gives NASA engineers more time to double check systems on the protective clamshell-like shroud at the nose of the Kepler spacecraft's Delta 2 rocket to ensure they will work properly.
 
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NASA and its blatant understatement: “We have had an anomaly”.

Calling that scenario an “anomaly” is merely a futile attempt to cushion the severity of the catastrophic losses that just occurred to the spacecraft, as well as dozens of employee vehicles and launch pad property. I'm sorry, but an “anomaly” just doesn’t cut it.

One sock coming out of the wash with a slightly different tint than its mate is an “anomaly”. These are two events that differ substantially in their extremes.

Perhaps the NASA orator should look under ‘O’ in the dictionary and rephrase accordingly.

“The spacecraft has just been “Obliterated” via an unscheduled detonation of its main engines and fuel tanks, and since the parking lot accommodating employee vehicles is currently in the process of being incinerated, many of you will need to make different arrangements for your ride home today.”
 

mgb_phys

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NASA and its blatant understatement: “We have had an anomaly”.
It does make sense in that kind of high stress environment.
At that point all they know is that they aren't getting telemetry - that could be for lots of reasons, you don't want to shout "oh-no-it's blown up" before you know it has because then other people might shut off systems or close data links that you still need.

There was a crash at Schipol a few years a go where a couple of engines fell off a 747 - the pilot reported 'we have lost an engine', which ATC took to mean an engine wasn't functioning = not a big deal on a 4 engine jumbo - so there was no real problem in directing them to circle over a heavily populated region on the way back to the airport.
 

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