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  [Discuss] Orbital's Cygus Orb-3 flight (mishap) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Orbital's Cygus Orb-3 flight (mishap)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-28-2014 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: To keep the topic Orbital Sciences Antares-Cygus Orb-3 CRS flight focused on status updates, feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss the inflight loss of Orbital Sciences' Antares-Cygnus Commercial Resupply Services-3 flight.

Headshot
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posted 10-28-2014 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Antares vehicle was destroyed in an explosion about six seconds after launch. There has been damage to the Wallops Island facility too.

Headshot
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posted 10-28-2014 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To me, the Antares vehicle seemed to lose acceleration after it left the pad until it slowed to a stop and then fell back a bit before an explosion consumed the vehicle.

Did anyone else watch the launch?

nasamad
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posted 10-28-2014 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, watched it live on NASA TV, looked to me like there was an engine failure or something at its peak before it dropped back onto the launch pad. Gutted for the crew who worked so hard.

Apollo14LMP
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posted 10-28-2014 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo14LMP   Click Here to Email Apollo14LMP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glad no one was hurt.

issman1
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posted 10-28-2014 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very unfortunate as it appears the Antares launch pad was destroyed. Thank goodness NASA has SpaceX as a backup for ISS resupply.

mikej
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posted 10-28-2014 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The only place I've found that's reporting the launch failure at this time is NBC News, which has NASA TV footage.

After the Antares settles back down on the pad and explodes, I imagine that it's the solid propellant from the second stage that's the cause of the "fireworks."

alanh_7
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posted 10-28-2014 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA TV cut away for a long shot but the rocket seemed to lift slowly and then their seemed to be a brighter than usual glow just as the camera cut to the long shot and then it blew.

GACspaceguy
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posted 10-28-2014 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nasamad:
...looked to me like there was an engine failure or something.
We were watching live as well and it sure looked like an engine type failure.

Headshot
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posted 10-28-2014 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was a "call" or something just as the Antares stopped climbing, but I could not understand what was said, nor do I know who said it.

I have not yet seen any reruns of the launch. Has any media outlet posted the launch online?

mikej
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posted 10-28-2014 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
There was a "call" or something just as the Antares stopped climbing, but I could not understand what was said, nor do I know who said it.

"Engines at 108%".

hoorenz
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posted 10-28-2014 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Multimedia has video.

dom
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posted 10-28-2014 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like one of those refurbished Russian NK-33 engines exploded?

The curse of the N1 moon rocket is alive and well...

Headshot
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posted 10-28-2014 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The call was right after the 108% remark, just as the explosion began, and I thought I heard the word "starboard."

mjanovec
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posted 10-28-2014 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is range safety's role in an accident like this? From viewing the video, it appears the Antares was allowed to fall back onto the pad and explode on its own, instead of being purposely destroyed while still in the air. (There were several seconds between the first sign of failure and the rocket returning to the pad.)

Is this done to minimize the horizontal spread of burning debris over the pad area? Does range safety only detonate rockets after they have performed a roll and pitch maneuver (and they are no longer directly over the launch pad)?

p51
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posted 10-28-2014 06:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
RSO wouldn't need to blow it up if it doesn't pose a safety risk to anyone. It's not like there's anyone at the pad to be harmed by it falling right back there.

I'd say as far as the RSO is concerned, this was the best type of destruction of the vehicle possible; one that only damages the pad.

mjanovec
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posted 10-28-2014 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was wondering if an explosion in the air would cause less overall damage than an explosion on the ground. The force of the explosion would do less damage while in the air... but there is the possibility that burning debris could be spread a greater distance from the pad.

I would also argue that an explosion over water, with the vehicle falling safely into the ocean is probably the "best" type of destruction, since it leaves the pad undamaged. But that was obviously not an option here.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-28-2014 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From internal video feeds here at Wallops, we can see that the erector, water tower and other pad structures are still standing. It appears that the rocket did not fall directly back onto the pad, but was already somewhat downrange and fell closer to the water.

COR482932
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posted 10-28-2014 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for COR482932   Click Here to Email COR482932     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Really got to feel for the Orbital team. You could hear the disappointment in their voices.

Luckily, no one was hurt and everyone is accounted for.

jasonelam
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posted 10-28-2014 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glad to hear there were no casualties, but that was unreal.

I watched the video, and I noticed the launch was a little slower than the previous launches. It looked almost as if the issues started at liftoff and progressed rapidly until the initial explosion.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-28-2014 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
I watched the video, and I noticed the launch was a little slower than the previous launches.
Orbital had said prior to flight to expect a slower ascent as a result of the larger Castor 30XL second stage solid rocket motor. This Antares was taller and heavier than the four previously launched.

mikej
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posted 10-28-2014 08:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was watching part of press conference and a reporter's question raises another question:

Since this is a commerical supply mission, at what point does NASA (the taxpayers) pay for the flight? Do we pay up front (and assume the risk of a failure such as this) or do we only pay when the payload is actually delivered?

Headshot
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posted 10-28-2014 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great question. I assume that Orbital and NASA had some sort of insurance, but whether or not it covered everything will probably depend on the results of the accident investigation.

Dave_Johnson
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posted 10-28-2014 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave_Johnson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceNews tweeted a video that a private pilot posted on YouTube of the failure from 3000 feet:

Ronpur
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posted 10-28-2014 11:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, that looked like a super nova!

Thanks to Robert in the news conference asking the question I wanted to know.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-29-2014 02:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mikej:
...at what point does NASA (the taxpayers) pay for the flight?
I believe, but may be mistaken, that the payments are broken into installments based on milestones, with the final payment being made on mission complete.

SpaceAngel
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posted 10-29-2014 05:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What are there odds of some of the supplies for the ISS might survived the explosion?

COR482932
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posted 10-29-2014 05:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for COR482932   Click Here to Email COR482932     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the general attitude that I got from the press conference was that everything can be assumed to have been destroyed.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-29-2014 07:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Cygnus was sitting directly atop the Castor 30XL solid rocket motor, which is what we saw explode into that tremendous fireball when the rocket hit the ground.

Most of the Cygnus cargo was soft goods and small hardware. I suspect fragments are all that remain.

dabolton
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posted 10-29-2014 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this the first American post-pad explosion since the flurry before Alan Shepard flew on Freedom 7?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-29-2014 09:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do you mean the rocket settling back/falling back onto the pad and then exploding?

Headshot
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posted 10-29-2014 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On 2 March 1965 Atlas-Centaur LV-3C severely damaged Pad 36A. The fully-fueled vehicle exploded when it crashed back into the launch pad after a two-second flight. It was supposed to send a Surveyor dynamic test spacecraft into orbit. A valve had failed and cut off fuel to two of the Atlas' engines.

dabolton
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posted 10-29-2014 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes Robert. I was thinking before any significant altitude gain/pad strike.

Michael Davis
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posted 10-29-2014 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Davis   Click Here to Email Michael Davis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the words of Alan Shepard: I sure hope they fix that.

cspg
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posted 10-29-2014 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any particular reason why the word "mishap" is used in the thread's title as opposed to failure?

dabolton
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posted 10-29-2014 09:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
On 2 March 1965 Atlas-Centaur LV-3C severely damaged Pad 36A.
I found this one. Quite spectacular.

Cozmosis22
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posted 10-29-2014 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apparently there were also some small satellites onboard; well, at least one built by students at the University of Texas.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-29-2014 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were some 30 nanosatellites aboard, including Planet Labs' next "Flock" of 26 Earth observation cubesats, Planetary Resources' Arkyd-3, and the aforementioned NASA RACE (Radiometer Atmospheric CubeSat Experiment) built with the University of Texas at Austin.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-29-2014 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
Any particular reason why the word "mishap" is used in the thread's title as opposed to failure?
No particular reason; it was just the word being used in discussion at the time I was creating the thread.

cspg
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posted 10-29-2014 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Thank goodness NASA has SpaceX as a backup for ISS resupply.
And the Russians launched Progress M-25M today...


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