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Sea-Launch anomaly

  1. Jan 31, 2007 #1

    D H

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    Sea-Launch "anomaly"

    This sounds a bit ominous:

    http://www.sea-launch.com/
    "A Sea-Launch Zenit-33l vehicle carrying the NSS-8 satellite, experienced an anomaly today during launch operations. All personnel at the launch site are safe and accounted for."

    So what exactly was the nature of this "anomaly"? The video is on youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMG2SBwIcrM
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2007
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  3. Jan 31, 2007 #2

    berkeman

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    When you said sea-launched, I pictured from a submarine! But even from an oil-platform-type launch pad, there's no way I'd be on that platform! Hopefully "All personnel at the launch site" were way off the platform where the camera was sitting.
     
  4. Jan 31, 2007 #3

    DaveC426913

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    I dunno how you can spot the anomalous bit what with all that brightness and flamage...
     
  5. Jan 31, 2007 #4

    russ_watters

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    Yeesh, that's some anomaly!
     
  6. Jan 31, 2007 #5

    russ_watters

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    Presumably, the camera was located on the control ship. Yeah, I'd hope the launch platform itself was unoccupied.
     
  7. Jan 31, 2007 #6

    Q_Goest

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    <sinking feeling> that's our customer.

    the launch platform is unoccupied during launch, but I suspect this will put an end to the project.
     
  8. Jan 31, 2007 #7

    russ_watters

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    They have had other successful launches, so why do you think this is it?
     
  9. Jan 31, 2007 #8

    FredGarvin

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    "Anomoly" is quite the euphamism.
     
  10. Jan 31, 2007 #9

    Q_Goest

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    I suppose I shouldn't be so hasty. Doesn't look like the launch platform could have survived though. That's a converted oil rig they have based out of LA California, along with a second ship that serves as a launch control ship. If the launch platform sank, they'd need to replace it which might take 3 to 5 years at a cost of about $500 million. Since the cost of a launch is around $80 million, and they only have a handfull of launches per year, you quickly realize the economics isn't good, especially with the competition for launches the way things are. The launch industry has an abundance of launch vehicles - it's very competitive. Recovering from a single failed launch is problematic. Recovering from a failed launch and the loss of your launch site just seems like a great time to look for a new job.

    On the other hand, if the launch platform survived and is still floating, they might be able to recover. I looked around the web but haven't found anything yet that says if the platform is still floating or not.
     
  11. Jan 31, 2007 #10

    FredGarvin

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    I wonder what their legal staff is going through right now. CYA has to be top of the list. The satellite it was carrying couldn't have been cheap.
     
  12. Feb 1, 2007 #11

    Q_Goest

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    Yep. Payloads range from about 100 million $ on up to a billion. Being a communications satallite, I'd expect it to be on the low end of that range, say less than 250 million. So yea, it's not cheap. However, they're usually covered by insurance. Of course, if a launch vehicle experiences a failure or two (this is the second Sea Launch failure) insurance can be extremely expensive.

    Spaceflight Now has a write up on it. They didn't have this last night, it's the site I'd usually go to for information on launch stuff. They said:
    Sounds like Boeing is being very closed lipped about what happened and the fate of the Odyssey. The fact they're not saying anything, that they cut off the broadcast as YouTube shows, and they're not even confirming the Odyssey is still floating seems a bit ominous to me.
     
  13. Feb 1, 2007 #12

    AlephZero

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    Well, the lawyers did one thing right. The made sure that a nice unemotional word like "anomaly" was used to describe it.

    Same applies in the civil aivation business - things that weren't supposed to happen are called incidents, not accidents...
     
  14. Feb 1, 2007 #13

    Q_Goest

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    A good sign...

    Looks like the Odyssey survived!
    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/sealaunch/nss8/070201statement.html
     
  15. Feb 1, 2007 #14
    Looks to me as if they had engaged reverse rather than 1st gear ;-)
     
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