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Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:28 pm

The Antares Rocket to resupply the ISS has just exploded during launch.
 
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Thunderboltdrgn
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:32 pm

Like a thunderbolt of lightning the Dragon roars across the sky. Il Drago Ruggente
 
zanl188
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:10 pm

Quite spectacular. Watched it live. Fortunately no one hurt.

I heard a call about an avionics problem just before it started to settle back towards the pad.

ISS makes a pass along the east coast in about 30 minutes. I imagine they'll get a good view of the fires at Wallops.
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redflyer
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:11 pm

Wicked launch disaster. Video of it already uploaded to YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx1CeHFeea0
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Okie
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:18 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 2):
I heard a call about an avionics problem just before it started to settle back towards the pad.

I noticed a problem with the rocket exhaust just seconds before it quit accelerating.
The first stage is kerosene/LOX and that should be mature technology.
The second stage is solid propellant which is why we are seeing such spectacular pyrotechnics after the rocket crashed back to the pad.

Okie
 
Areopagus
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:25 pm

I wonder why the RSO didn't destroy it when it faltered, so as to burn it in the air to the degree possible rather than having it all fall back onto the pad.
 
redflyer
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:34 pm

Quoting Areopagus (Reply 5):
I wonder why the RSO didn't destroy it when it faltered, so as to burn it in the air to the degree possible rather than having it all fall back onto the pad.

The destruct mechanism doesn't vaporize the vehicle, it only opens it up so that it explodes. Much like you just witnessed. There would still be large pieces that would fall to Earth. The intent is to stop it from traveling on a trajectory that could pose harm to others or property. The fact that it fell back on the pad is probably one of the best outcomes since everything will be in close proximity and recoverable for forensic examination (assuming some key pieces survived the inferno that is still burning on the ground).

[Edited 2014-10-28 16:35:07]
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vatveng
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:40 pm

Quoting Areopagus (Reply 5):
I wonder why the RSO didn't destroy it when it faltered, so as to burn it in the air to the degree possible rather than having it all fall back onto the pad.

It never really cleared the launch pad. It only traveled up for about a second and a half, then hovered about a second before falling back to the pad.
 
zanl188
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:56 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 2):
I heard a call about an avionics problem just before it started to settle back towards the pad.

Just played back my recording. Call I heard was "Avionics power nominal", nothing unusual there.

Sure looks to me like a first stage engine let go or a turbopump came unglued. 1st stage engines for Antares are modified engines from the Soviet N-1 program in the late 60's, early 70's.

Maybe Putin had a back door put in.  
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dtw2hyd
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:59 pm

Sad day. I wish it cleared the launch pad and dropped in to ocean.

Looking at the first stage specs of Antares, this is an Ukrainian designed stage powered by modified Russian engine!!!

NASA/Orbital Briefing at 8:30 EDT.
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teme82
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:01 am

Did I hear correctly that few milliseconds before the breakup the male voice said : "main engines at 108%" How engine can be over 100% of thrust?
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redflyer
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:01 am

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 8):
Sure looks to me like a first stage engine let go or a turbopump came unglued. 1st stage engines for Antares are modified engines from the Soviet N-1 program in the late 60's, early 70's.

Whatever happened definitely occurred on the lit end, that's for sure.

The debris is still burning away. There's going to be some major damage to the launch pad so even if Orbital figures out what went wrong and comes up with a quick fix, there's going to be a lot of time and money spent getting the Wallops facility back into shape.
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Okie
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:13 am

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 8):
Sure looks to me like a first stage engine let go or a turbopump came unglued. 1st stage engines for Antares are modified engines from the Soviet N-1 program in the late 60's, early 70's.

My arm chair observation would point that direction. The extension of flame as it lost thrust would pretty much indicate that there was a loss of Oxidizer for the kerosene.
I would only be guessing if it was a LOX turbo pump failure, broken pipe, or other cause but it would indicate there was some issue getting the oxidizer to the combustion camber.

Okie
 
redflyer
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:29 am

Quoting teme82 (Reply 10):
Did I hear correctly that few milliseconds before the breakup the male voice said : "main engines at 108%" How engine can be over 100% of thrust?

Improvements in engine performance since it was developed means it's developing more thrust now. Rather than go back and recalculate/reprogram/retest and recreate the data and modeling databases for the engine with the new numbers they simply amend the increased performance numbers onto the existing data and modeling references.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:24 am

Quoting teme82 (Reply 10):
Did I hear correctly that few milliseconds before the breakup the male voice said : "main engines at 108%" How engine can be over 100% of thrust?

Same goes for airplanes (N1 speed), and other vehicles like the Space Shuttle (main engines go to 108%, I think). You establish a 100% value at some time during the program, and then by the time the engine goes into service, improvements have enabled it to develop more than 100% thrust.

EDIT: sorry Redflyer, I missed that you said basically the same thing!

[Edited 2014-10-28 18:29:56]
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Mir
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:37 am

Quoting redflyer (Reply 3):
Wicked launch disaster. Video of it already uploaded to YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx1CeHFeea0

11 seconds into the video there's a small puff of something coming out of the left side of the rocket. Reminded me of what happened with SpaceX when they had a pad abort at the very last moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFkbhBGJMVE

I wonder if that was some sign of trouble.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 14):
like the Space Shuttle (main engines go to 108%, I think).

104% was normal thrust for the shuttle. I don't know how much they can actually go to before they exceed limits.

-Mir
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Okie
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:13 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
11 seconds into the video there's a small puff of something coming out of the left side of the rocket

The news conference did not indicate much other than stated that there were issues detectable issues at 10-12 second timeframe and destruct was at 20 seconds.
The video changes cameras and we lose the mission timers, but after 20 seconds the vehicle was well into decent if not already on the ground.

Okie
 
rampart
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:46 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 14):
like the Space Shuttle (main engines go to 108%, I think).

104% was normal thrust for the shuttle. I don't know how much they can actually go to before they exceed limits.

"These go to 11."  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fbMQ5Z2lN4

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checksixx
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:20 am

Quoting teme82 (Reply 10):
Did I hear correctly that few milliseconds before the breakup the male voice said : "main engines at 108%" How engine can be over 100% of thrust?

Ugh...its the norm in rocket and space launches...even with the shuttle program. Suggest you do some reading.


This was clearly an engine issue. The engine faltered slightly just after liftoff and then re-developed thrust, then the major failure. Sending a destruct signal, if they actually did, was pointless at the altitude it made it too.
 
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teme82
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:20 am

Quoting checksixx (Reply 18):
Ugh...its the norm in rocket and space launches...even with the shuttle program. Suggest you do some reading.

Yeah. Few post's earlier I got the answer...  
Quoting redflyer (Reply 13):

Improvements in engine performance since it was developed means it's developing more thrust now. Rather than go back and recalculate/reprogram/retest and recreate the data and modeling databases for the engine with the new numbers they simply amend the increased performance numbers onto the existing data and modeling references.

Thanks! Not so much following the space programs in these days. But looking at the Aerojet AJ26-62's history it's based on older Soviet engine. As far as I can tell they are using the NK-33's from the 70's. But they did some modifications to them. Perhaps one of the engines had a fault and no one detected it until it was too late.
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KarelXWB
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:21 am

Explosion seen from the air:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zarWT7H9t54
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:22 pm

What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:54 pm

Are there any photos of the damage to the launch site yet?
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zanl188
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:02 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):

Looks like the sea wall took the brunt of it....

Are two lightning towers missing?


Courtesy: NASA
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prebennorholm
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:49 am

Quoting teme82 (Reply 19):
But looking at the Aerojet AJ26-62's history it's based on older Soviet engine. As far as I can tell they are using the NK-33's from the 70's.

They are not just based on the NK-33, they ARE NK-33 engines built by Kuznetsov in late 60'es and early 70'es. They were made for the USSR N1 moon rocket which used 30 NK-33 engines on its first stage.

The N1 rocket program was cancelled in 1974 following four consecutive launch failiures. At that time a stockpile of some 150 NK-33 engines had been produced. Aerojet bought from that stockpile at a bargain of some $1.1M each and renamed them AJ26 after various modifications, mainly to electric and electronic control hardware.

Aerojet/Orbital Sciences still have about 50 of them (the Antares uses two engines), but that could be the end of it. Six months ago Russia embargoed rocket engine supply to the USA as retaliation of the various US embargoes following the Crimea "anschluss".
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prebennorholm
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:57 am

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 23):
Looks like the sea wall took the brunt of it....

Here is a preliminary description of the damage to the site...
http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/octob...l-assessment-after-orbital-launch/
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:53 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 23):
Looks like the sea wall took the brunt of it....
Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 25):
Here is a preliminary description of the damage to the site...

Thanks for the photo and the report. It's not as bad as I had imagined it would be.
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boacvc10
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:29 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 23):
Looks like the sea wall took the brunt of it....

Are two lightning towers missing?

Where did the rocket fuselage fall ? should it not be visible in this frame? Has it already been cleared ... or did it vaporize ?
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rwessel
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:36 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 23):
Are two lightning towers missing?

It looks like the remains of one of them are lying across the seawall (left of the tank farm).
 
HaveBlue
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:36 pm

Quoting checksixx (Reply 18):
Ugh...its the norm in rocket and space launches...even with the shuttle program. Suggest you do some reading

This is a forum for just such a question.. why should he Google it or Search It here? Why don't we just lock the whole site and let people search for their answers instead of posting here and getting sarcastic remarks? The first 2 posters that replied to his question were way more helpful.

On a better note, at least the next days Atlas V launch, which I watched in person, went flawlessly. Shame about the Orbital one though.
 
nomadd22
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:43 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
104% was normal thrust for the shuttle. I don't know how much they can actually go to before they exceed limits.

The shuttle had gone to 109% but was limited to 104% after Challenger.
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D L X
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:43 pm

Quoting KarelXWB (Reply 21):

That's interesting -- is the explosion we see the RSO detonating the rocket, or is that the kerosene tank exploding? Rather amazed that the solid rocket fuel in the second stage did not detonate until it hit the ground.
 
JeffSFO
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:44 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 23):
Are two lightning towers missing?

Their remains are visible in these image if you view the high-res versions. A piece of one straddles the sea wall and its other half is in the yard immediately south of the launch pad. The other appears to have been upended with its base on the launch duct and the rest is astride the flame trench and stretches out onto the soil.

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3942/15663755722_e7570cbeea_c.jpg
Aerial Survey of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport by NASA HQ PHOTO, on Flickr

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3936/15662941355_9422c479df_c.jpg
Aerial Survey of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport by NASA HQ PHOTO, on Flickr

Regardless, it looks like they caught a big break because the crater of a major impact point is visible just adjacent to the launch duct and platform.
 
rwessel
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:59 pm

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 30):
The shuttle had gone to 109% but was limited to 104% after Challenger.

109% was never a normal thrust level. For the first few launches, with the original engines, "normal" was 100% and you had 104% on tap for emergencies. The RS-25As and Bs made that 104 and 109%, the Cs made it 104.5 and 109%, the D's made it 104.5 and 109% for an intact abort, and 111% for a contingency abort.

There was a plan to certify the C's to 106% for ISS flights, but that never happened. Even on STS-51-F, the only real abort of the program, the two remaining engines were not throttled up beyond their normal 104% setting for the abort-to-orbit.

There were plans to certify to higher emergency power levels (IIRC, even the original engines were supposed to go to 110% for emergency power), but they never could get the turbopumps to hold together reliably under those loads. Also, IIRC, the last SSME explosion on the test stand was a high power test of just that sort of condition.
 
Acheron
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:06 pm

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 24):
Six months ago Russia embargoed rocket engine supply to the USA as retaliation of the various US embargoes following the Crimea "anschluss".

Except they haven't. They are still delivering engines to the US, just like despite all the fuss, Poland is still sending Weapons Grade Uranium to Russia and France will deliver the Mistrals.

Posturing for the naive, it's the name of the game.
 
JeffSFO
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:09 am

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 30):

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
104% was normal thrust for the shuttle. I don't know how much they can actually go to before they exceed limits.

The shuttle had gone to 109% but was limited to 104% after Challenger.

Kind of.

104% as the nominal power level for the SSMEs started with Challenger on STS-6 in 1983 and remained so until Block IIA upgrades (first used on STS-89 in 1998) increased it to 104.5%, but 109% remained the top of the throttle range until the end of the Shuttle program.

Pre-Challenger disaster, 109% nominal power was planned for some missions with very heavy payloads and was in place for contingency scenarios but never used. It was the plans for using 109% as nominal thrust on heavy launches that were dropped, although it did remain an option for certain contingency operations.

Later static tests were conducted at settings higher than 109% but never certified for flight.

Interesting reading:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110015000.pdf
http://www.interspacenews.com/Featur...cle/tabid/130/Default.aspx?id=2130


Definitely worth checking out if you want to learn how the Shuttle was built and operated:

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/aeronauti...aft-systems-engineering-fall-2005/

Edit: sorry to repeat on rwessel's first response about this but I had to step away for a while and didn't know his was already there when I submitted this. Will leave it up for the additional info and links.

[Edited 2014-10-30 17:25:39]
 
checksixx
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:33 am

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 29):
This is a forum for just such a question.. why should he Google it or Search It here? Why don't we just lock the whole site and let people search for their answers instead of posting here and getting sarcastic remarks? The first 2 posters that replied to his question were way more helpful.

Point in fact there is a mix of incorrect information being blended with correct information in most of the replies. A simple search would have yielded the following:

Excellent (non-armchair) source:
http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/3.pdf

A simplified source for quick read:
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/...ref/orbiter/prop/flowsequence.html

Why get what people, like yourself, THINK is the answer, when he/she can get the correct information directly from the horses mouth? Read up.
 
dtw2hyd
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:38 pm

How are these NK-33s stored for 40+ years? Similar to long term jet engine storage?

There aren't many options for Orbital Sciences. Mr.Musk is not going to offer Merlin-1D. Not sure if Vulcain or even Viking are affordable.
All posts are just opinions.
 
JeffSFO
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:14 pm

Quoting dtw2hyd (Reply 37):

How are these NK-33s stored for 40+ years? Similar to long term jet engine storage?

There aren't many options for Orbital Sciences. Mr.Musk is not going to offer Merlin-1D. Not sure if Vulcain or even Viking are affordable.


Regarding NK-33 long-term storage, I suppose it depends whether it's indoor or outdoor. Regardless, they'd be wrapped up or insulated in something to prevent dust contamination or corrosion, etc.

Also, the AJ26/NK-33 was already on schedule to be phased out after 8 resupply missions. Orbital Sciences has stated that a replacement has already been chosen although they haven't revealed what it is...

Quote:
The company already planned to replace the Antares rocket's AJ26 main engines, which many observers immediately suspected were to blame for the mishap.

Originally called NK-33s, the engines were built for a Soviet rocket program in the 70s and refurbished in the U.S. after decades in storage.

The engines "have presented us with some serious technical and supply challenges," Thompson acknowledged Wednesday.

Given those challenges and a limited supply, Orbital intended to make a change after fulfilling its NASA contract for eight resupply missions, of which it has completed two. The company has chosen a new propulsion system but not disclosed what it is, and said Wednesday the change might be accelerated.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/ne...phase-soviet-era-engines/18141971/
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:08 pm

Quoting dtw2hyd (Reply 37):
How are these NK-33s stored for 40+ years? Similar to long term jet engine storage?

Or long term piston engine storage.

The spare engine for "our" DC-3, which we hopefully won't need until 2035 or so (knock on wood), is stored in a special slightly pressurised container in dry nitrogen. That way it will last a few thousand years.

That storage method was developed to be used for the royal jewels, and copied for aircraft engines (or maybe it was the other way around   )
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
zanl188
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:12 am

Orbital dumping AJ26 first stage engine after apparent turbopump problem during last weeks launch accident, Company says it is accelerating Antares propulsion upgrade program and expects Antares to fly again, with a new first stage engine, in 2016. Meanwhile a couple of Cygnus's will fly on other launchers.

https://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/release.asp?prid=1921
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checksixx
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:05 am

This is what American industry gets for un-employing people and farming out the work/product. Can't blame anyone but ourselves. Even with the overhaul...40 years? Come on.......
 
Okie
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:23 am

Quoting checksixx (Reply 41):
This is what American industry gets for un-employing people and farming out the work/product. Can't blame anyone but ourselves. Even with the overhaul...40 years? Come on.......

The AJ 26 engine has had a massive list of failures from the get go (1970's). The plot somewhere got lost and the cure was determined that new controls/electrics was the solution even though the failures have continued even on the test stands this year indicating that there is something inherently known that is wrong with the design or metallurgy in the turbo pump.
Just a little gleaming/research of the history of the engine almost points that the anomaly would be a non failure. (Okay a little stretch)

The next engines will be the RD 193 with more thrust, still Russian but different manufacturer.


Okie
 
zanl188
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:10 pm

NASAs Independent Review concludes the accident was a result of turbopump failure due to design problems.

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/fi...toms/files/orb3_irt_execsumm_0.pdf
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zeke
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:56 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 43):
due to design problems.

Lowest bidder .....
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nomadd22
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:34 pm

Quoting zeke (Reply 44):
Quoting zanl188 (Reply 43):
due to design problems.

Lowest bidder .....

You don't bid out rocket engines. There were a large number of NK-33s in storage and the Antares was designed around those.
The recommendations in that report sound like they were made by an Old Space bureaucracy worshipper.
Anon
 
WIederling
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RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:01 pm

Quoting zanl188 (Reply 43):
a result of turbopump failure due to design problems.

What about he homesteaders from Aerojet ?

The US never managed oxygen rich combustion in rocket engines.
But Aerojet went all over the NK-33 and "improved" it.

giving it a new name doesn't make it american

and expectably the failure instantly converts it back to
a malfunction soviet product  
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rfields5421
Posts: 6268
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:29 pm

Quoting boacvc10 (Reply 27):
Where did the rocket fuselage fall ? should it not be visible in this frame? Has it already been cleared ... or did it vaporize ?

Rockets really don't have a fuselage like an aircraft. The stages under the payload are really just fuel containers with a minimal necessary equipment to burn that fuel and maintain control. The payload is a tiny part of the rocket.

Since well over 95% of the rocket is fuel - the majority of such failures leave only burn scars with a few melted major parts left for investigators to examine.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
nomadd22
Posts: 1570
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:42 pm

RE: Antares Rocket Just Exploded

Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:40 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 47):
Quoting boacvc10 (Reply 27):
Where did the rocket fuselage fall ? should it not be visible in this frame? Has it already been cleared ... or did it vaporize ?

Rockets really don't have a fuselage like an aircraft. The stages under the payload are really just fuel containers with a minimal necessary equipment to burn that fuel and maintain control. The payload is a tiny part of the rocket.

Since well over 95% of the rocket is fuel - the majority of such failures leave only burn scars with a few melted major parts left for investigators to examine.

And the tanks are relatively thin aluminum, which doesn't tend to hold up too well under conditions like that.
Anon

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