Launch News (FAILURE) Proton-M/Briz-M launch with Express-AM4R, May 15/16, 2014

Galactic Penguin SST

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Orbiter in use for yet another (rough) failure simulation: here's a KML file of the rough trajectory taken of this launch and the approximate impact points of debris. The positions for the Briz-M debris were within a few dozen km of the positions reported for the objects fallen. ;)

(well it was launched from pad 39, not pad 24, and somehow the maximum altitude reached was only 110 km instead of 160 km, and I can't manage to manually shut down the engine without separating the Briz-M, but........you got the idea)

Wait, what? It wasn't a U.S. satellite.

It was built by a French company using US built parts, hence regulated by ITAR.

Where else should it go? Is he personally going to send it back into space with a trampoline?

Ostapenko said that they all should "burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere", apparently not knowing that tanks made of titanium or composites could easily withstand deceleration from 7 km/s....
 

Urwumpe

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It was built by a French company using US built parts, hence regulated by ITAR.

German subsidy of a European Company once called "Astrium" (with slight French dominance), without US built-parts. No ITAR in Astrium. A big deal of the assembly was done at the former "Dornier Satellite Systems" plant. Today, Astrium is part of Airbus Defence & Space.
 

N_Molson

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...which is why we have an healthy German colony in Toulouse ;)
 

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RGClark

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Well, ITAR went out the window. This is just another Intelsat 708 (with a little less drama)...

To sum up the Proton at this point: somewhat reliable rocket that uses toxic propellants...and will fail catastrophically whenever given the opportunity (like other rockets). Unfortunate that it HAS a lot more opportunities to do so than other rockets... :lol:

What is the Proton failure rate since 2010, and overall?

Bob Clark
 

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What is the Proton failure rate since 2010, and overall?

Wikipedia has these lists "[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_in_spaceflight"]*year* in spaceflight[/ame]", they make such things quite easy to check.

Including 2010: 46 launches, 6 (partial) failures. Roughly 13%.
Since 1965: 390 launches, 45 failures. Roughly 11.5%

But the price difference is so huge between a Proton and an Atlas...might as well be worth it.
 

ISProgram

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What is the Proton failure rate since 2010, and overall?

Bob Clark

Atlas V was introduced in August 2002, and Proton-M was introduced in April 2001.

Of the flights since then, Atlas has "failed" just once, in 2007, when a Centaur engine problem resulting in its payload(s) being placed in a lower orbit then intended. The NRO, however, categorized it as a success.

Proton-M, however, has failed a lot more, and often less benignly than that one Atlas V "failure". Actually about nine have failed up to now. While 9 failures in 13 years *might* not be unusual (though I think it is), this is the sixth time it failed in 31 months (2 1/2 years). Though really, it's the Briz-M's fault most of the time, as a a couple other Briz (NOT on Proton) have shown anomalies, like during a particular launch on a Rockot.

Actually, Space Launch Report has a log just for this kind of statistic, on a yearly basis.
 

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Investigation committee chairman Alexander Danyluk reported today that the outlet pressure of the gas generator turbine of the 3rd stage's vernier engine (single pump, four chambers) has gradually dropped "by 15 times" before failing completely. He also excluded probable errors in the control system as a probable cause, saying that it worked nominally.

Hope it's not the "engine pipelines clogged by foreign particles" demon again........ :rolleyes:

Here's a full description of the Proton's 2nd and 3rd stage engines (alas, in Russian): http://www.lpre.de/kbkha/RD-0203/index.htm

...and a graph showing the components of the RD-0214 vernier engine:
RD-0214_flow.jpg
 

Galactic Penguin SST

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Investigation committee chairman Alexander Danyluk reported today that the outlet pressure of the gas generator turbine of the 3rd stage's vernier engine (single pump, four chambers) has gradually dropped "by 15 times" before failing completely. He also excluded probable errors in the control system as a probable cause, saying that it worked nominally.

Hope it's not the "engine pipelines clogged by foreign particles" demon again........ :rolleyes:

Here's a full description of the Proton's 2nd and 3rd stage engines (alas, in Russian): http://www.lpre.de/kbkha/RD-0203/index.htm

...and a graph showing the components of the RD-0214 vernier engine:
RD-0214_flow.jpg

...well it probably isn't, but oh dear, it's looking like there's another "elementary level" QC problem that brought down this launch..... :facepalm:

According to inside sources, the preliminary investigation shows that the most probable cause of the accident is a pipeline rupture between the gas generator and the turbopump of the 3rd stage vernier engine (whether it was the fuel side or the oxidizer side is still being investigated - refer to the flow scheme above at points 2-4 and 15-12) - probably due to poorly welding seams in the pipelines. The rocket computers declared an emergency state at T+541 seconds after the stage veered off course by more than 20 degrees (in which axis is not known yet).

Official sources acknowledged this as one possible reason; other plausible reasons under scrutiny includes destruction of the turbopump bearing assemblies, contaminants entering the fuel flow regulator or the fuel filters/pipelines clogged by foreign objects in the 3rd stage vernier engine.
 

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Had the Briz-M been jettisoned as soon as the emergency was detected, couldn't it have made orbit on its own, and completed most of the mission?

Shouldn't contingencies such as this be planned for? Manned launches have a plan for failure at every stage of ascent, and will try to recover the mission as well as possible.
 

Urwumpe

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Had the Briz-M been jettisoned as soon as the emergency was detected, couldn't it have made orbit on its own, and completed most of the mission?

Not at all - not enough thrust for that phase.
 

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Not at all - not enough thrust for that phase.

Yup. Try Thorton's excellent "Proton LV" addon. The Breeze-M space tug is fine for long, low-thrust (roughly 20 kN) orbit changes, but can't replace a true rocket stage for Orbit Insertion. It has other qualities : can perform long burns, can be restarted a lot of times, is hypergolic with no boil-off constraints, "doughnut" fuel tank that can be discarded once empty... :yes:

Hope it's not the "engine pipelines clogged by foreign particles" demon again........

I'd call it the "lack of attention / qualification on the assembly line caused by ridiculous salaries demon"...
 

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Yup. Try Thorton's excellent "Proton LV" addon.

I did, that's what gave me the idea. The orbital insertion needs to be finished with the Briz-M. Note the 4:30 long burn listed on page one of this thread about a minute after 3rd stage cut off.

The 3rd stage only had 40 seconds left. Perhaps it would have been possible for Briz-M to pitch way up and claw its way into orbit. Though if the satellite did not have the delta-V to put itself into a useful orbit thereafter, it would be futile anyway.
 

Urwumpe

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I did, that's what gave me the idea. The orbital insertion needs to be finished with the Briz-M. Note the 4:30 long burn listed on page one of this thread about a minute after 3rd stage cut off.

The 3rd stage only had 40 seconds left. Perhaps it would have been possible for Briz-M to pitch way up and claw its way into orbit. Though if the satellite did not have the delta-V to put itself into a useful orbit thereafter, it would be futile anyway.

Pitching up is exactly the wrong idea then - you need to be horizontal with so little thrust and take every impulse you can get. Maybe even pointing down a bit for buying extra velocity for less altitude.

Also, the 3rd stage is not throttled - it produces most of its dV in the final 30 seconds of flight. And then, it could even be possible, that the third stage was point 20° downward at the time of failure and would have put the Briz-M into a much lower trajectory than normal.
 

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Hmm today the investigation committee reports that the failure "most likely" involves the destruction of the bearing mounting on the 3rd stage vernier engine's turbopump. Maybe it is still linked to the fuel/oxidizer pipeline rupture reported above since the reduce in fuel which cools and lubricates the bearing would cause the bearing to failed sooner or later... :rolleyes:
 

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INTERNATIONAL LAUNCH SERVICES (ILS) FAILURE REVIEW OVERSIGHT BOARD (FROB) CONCLUDES EXPRESS AM4R PROTON LAUNCH ANOMALY INVESTIGATON
Successful Proton Return to Flight Mission for Russian Federal Government Launched on September 28



September 29, 2014- The ILS Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) has concluded its work, after a detailed review of the findings, conclusions and identified corrective action plans from the Russian State Inter-agency Commission (IAC) and Khrunichev (KhSC) investigations into the probable cause of the May 16 failure of the Russian Federal Proton mission carrying the Express AM4R satellite.



The members of the FROB reviewed the initial assessment provided by the IAC along with the additional testing and investigations that the IAC directed to be performed by Khrunichev and their subsidiaries. Based on the data presented, it was agreed by the FROB that the probable cause of the failure was the loss of structural integrity of a bolted interface that attaches the Stage III steering engine turbopump to the main engine structural frame. The loss of integrity led to an excessive steering engine turbo pump vibration environment that damaged a fuel inlet line to the oxidizer gas generator, resulting in a fuel leak. The loss of fuel led to the premature shutdown of the turbopump and loss of stage control authority and ultimately loss of mission approximately 545 seconds into the flight. Additionally, the FROB concurs that the identified corrective action plan will adequately address the identified probable cause and contributors to the failure.



“We thank all of the FROB participants—our customers, insurance underwriters, technical experts and all others--for their diligent work and generous time; their continued support is sincerely appreciated,” said ILS Chief Technical Officer and Vice President of Programs and Operations, John Palmé.



The successful Proton return to flight mission for the Russian Federal Government occurred on September 28, 2014; all of the required corrective actions were incorporated for this mission. The scheduling of the remainder of the ILS Proton manifest for 2014 is currently being determined.



About ILS and Khrunichev
ILS is a leader in providing launch services for global satellite operators and offers a complete array of services and support, from contract signing through mission management and on-orbit delivery. ILS has exclusive rights to market the Proton vehicle to commercial satellite operators worldwide and is a U.S. company headquartered in Reston, VA., near Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.ilslaunch.com.

Khrunichev, which holds the majority interest in ILS, is one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry. Khrunichev manufactures the Proton system and is developing the Angara launch system. The Proton launches from facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and has a heritage of more than 398 missions since 1965. Khrunichev includes, among its branches, a number of key manufacturers of launch vehicle and spacecraft components in Moscow and in other cities of the Russian Federation. For more information, visit www.khrunichev.com.
 
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