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(Discover)   SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lost an engine on its way to orbit, still managed to get Dragon capsule on its way to ISS   (blogs.discovermagazine.com) divider line 85
    More: Cool, International Space Station, Dragon capsules, motive powers, space rendezvous, telemetry, orbits, space capsules, hurling  
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5243 clicks; posted to Geek » on 08 Oct 2012 at 3:26 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-08 07:41:10 PM  

akula: mark12A: I hope they find and fix the problem. I really, really, really, really, really, really, WANT SpaceX to succeed...

I expect they will.

Things like this are exactly why newer rocket designs are using a shiat-ton of engines instead of just two or three. Lose one engine on a Delta IV Heavy and you've just lost 33% of your thrust and that payload ain't reaching orbit. Lose one engine out of nine on a Falcon 9, well, there's worse problems to have.

A bunch of smaller engines also tends to be cheaper than just a few big ones- the engines themselves are cheaper due to economies of scale and you can size the launch system to the payload- more weight, use more engines.


The trade off is that the plumbing can be a lot more complicated, as the Russians discovered with the N-1. Moving all that fuel so quickly is never a simple matter.
It's an engineering balancing act.
 
2012-10-08 07:41:11 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: way south: Since the Dragon is carrying up freezers and returning with Blood samples (among other things), I'd say the ISS is currently benefiting humans involved with biomedical research.

Vital research, I'm sure.

Contrabulous Flabtraption: true - without NASA's abject failure to advance manned space exploration Space X probably wouldn't exist.

Yes yes. I assume the laws of physics and practical engineering will be repealed soon.


There you are. We have been expecting you.
 
2012-10-08 07:50:51 PM  

way south: akula: mark12A: I hope they find and fix the problem. I really, really, really, really, really, really, WANT SpaceX to succeed...

I expect they will.

Things like this are exactly why newer rocket designs are using a shiat-ton of engines instead of just two or three. Lose one engine on a Delta IV Heavy and you've just lost 33% of your thrust and that payload ain't reaching orbit. Lose one engine out of nine on a Falcon 9, well, there's worse problems to have.

A bunch of smaller engines also tends to be cheaper than just a few big ones- the engines themselves are cheaper due to economies of scale and you can size the launch system to the payload- more weight, use more engines.

The trade off is that the plumbing can be a lot more complicated, as the Russians discovered with the N-1. Moving all that fuel so quickly is never a simple matter.
It's an engineering balancing act.


Trying to keep the thrust balanced is the big issue, and defeated the Russian engineers of the time. Might be more feasible now, though.
 
2012-10-08 08:20:01 PM  
The article also mentions a secondary payload satellite didn't make it to desired orbit. I would think that's a bigger concern.
 
2012-10-08 08:28:00 PM  

1000Airplanes: The article also mentions a secondary payload satellite didn't make it to desired orbit. I would think that's a bigger concern.


Depends on the satellite and the orbit it's in now.
These payloads are sometimes insured, and there's a growing industry in space salvage.
With a lot of math and patience, they can sometimes slingshot the vehicle from an undesirable orbit to a place where it can be hired out for other jobs.

/I recall one job where they bought a failed launch and got it all the way to geostationary orbit by way of the moon.
/took a few months tho.
 
2012-10-08 08:31:08 PM  

Spare Me: SpaceX is totally hiring.

Here


Thanks for the link.

Issues of their rocket aside, that is one of the worst hiring pages I've been to, using Chrome. Reason: it complete breaks middle click, open in a new tab. I see several positions I am interested in, and would like to m-click, m-click, m-click, m-click open in new tabs and explore them.

But no, their outsourced hiring site insists I look at one position at a time, and opens each in the same tab, and then shows me the same stupid page of boiler plate before giving me the details for each position.

Sigh.
 
2012-10-08 08:47:38 PM  

StopLurkListen: FTFA: "Like the Saturn V, which experienced engine loss on two flights, Falcon 9 is designed to handle an engine out situation and still complete its mission."

Just sayin'


At least 1 Space Shuttle flight also lost a main engine on ascent and made it to orbit safely. (yes, and back again).
If it happens late enough in the flight, it's not a big deal. If it happens very early, it can be a very big deal.
 
2012-10-08 09:00:57 PM  

RoyBatty: But no, their outsourced hiring site insists I look at one position at a time, and opens each in the same tab, and then shows me the same stupid page of boiler plate before giving me the details for each position.


It's quite possible SpaceX has a deliberately obtuse hiring site to screen out people who are just sending resumes because it's such neat cool place to work rather than people who really want to be be on the threshold of space exploration and are willing to put up with a little hassle.

Not certain, but possible. Nor am I necessarily saying it'd be a good idea on their part.
 
2012-10-08 09:22:03 PM  

aerojockey: RoyBatty: But no, their outsourced hiring site insists I look at one position at a time, and opens each in the same tab, and then shows me the same stupid page of boiler plate before giving me the details for each position.

It's quite possible SpaceX has a deliberately obtuse hiring site to screen out people who are just sending resumes because it's such neat cool place to work rather than people who really want to be be on the threshold of space exploration and are willing to put up with a little hassle.

Not certain, but possible. Nor am I necessarily saying it'd be a good idea on their part.


Perhaps, but I don't think so.

The hiring part of the site is outsourced and it screams HRified pretty but difficult to use website give that guy a promotion for implementing it.
 
2012-10-08 09:45:19 PM  
The urine and blood samples should actually be a big deal to QuantumAssholery, because they relate directly to his favorite topic of life-extension. See, there are many bodily processes related to aging that accelerate or are more pronounced in their expression when the person is exposed to long-duration microgravity. Already, biologists studying this stuff have found a new marker for the production of an enzyme that's related to people losing their vision earlier in life. Developing this information will lead to a test for the gene, and later, perhaps, a way to reverse the early damage before it can happen. Because what's the point of living a long time, QA, if you can't enjoy it.

If you want the secrets of life extension, fund more manned space research!
 
2012-10-08 09:45:28 PM  

doglover: This is why scientists are not the ideal people to direct the flow of progress. They'll min-max everything until you get a situation like the Mars landers where one little blooper in the production process means that now we can't search for life with the drill, even if we find it.


Wait, did I miss something? What happened to the drill?
 
2012-10-08 10:41:46 PM  
That would have torn a lesser design to shreds. Good on 'em for putting in the extra failure tolerance. Now fix it so we can put a man on top of those things.
 
2012-10-08 10:52:46 PM  
The Merlin-1c engines on the Falcon 9 use regenerative cooling for the nozzles. When the engine was shut off, there would still be a bit of cooled fuel in the pipes in the cooling layer. The sudden loss of the heat from the fuel being burnt would cause the outermost layer of brazed alloy to contract suddenly and become brittle, and fall off. No explosion, no "engine disintegration". Small flameout from the fuel being shut off, and the thin innermost layer of the cooling sheath falling off.
 
2012-10-08 11:51:31 PM  
Contrabulous Flabtraption 2012-10-08 05:45:59 PM

Riotboy: I'm glad it made it.

/the ISS is a achievement for humans


So is toilet paper - only it's much more useful.


I'm visualizing wiping my ass with a space station and...not quite succeeding. :D

Aside from that my ass is not THAT big.
 
2012-10-09 12:52:27 AM  
I read one article that said the other payload didn't reach orbit because NASA rules didn't allow the second stage engine to fire after the loss of one of the main stage engines. Don't know what that's about.
 
2012-10-09 02:22:26 AM  

wax_on: I read one article that said the other payload didn't reach orbit because NASA rules didn't allow the second stage engine to fire after the loss of one of the main stage engines. Don't know what that's about.


From what I've been able to gather it has to do with preventing hardware from occupying to close an orbit to the ISS for longer then some X amount of time. if this hadn't been an ISS dragon missions a slightly longer second stage burn time very likely would have solved this problem .

weavermatic: The Merlin-1c engines on the Falcon 9 use regenerative cooling for the nozzles. When the engine was shut off, there would still be a bit of cooled fuel in the pipes in the cooling layer. The sudden loss of the heat from the fuel being burnt would cause the outermost layer of brazed alloy to contract suddenly and become brittle, and fall off. No explosion, no "engine disintegration". Small flameout from the fuel being shut off, and the thin innermost layer of the cooling sheath falling off.


from the video it looked like something a damn sight bigger then some pieces of the regen cooling channels fell off after the flameout. I'm guessing you had either a partial vacuum form after engine out that sucked a piece of protective fairing off or a small explosion of cooked off propellent/oxidizer blew off said fairing after the turbopump shut off and trapped some juice in the cooling pipes and feed lines. Well, either that or the turbopump ate itself and/or became reaction mass and the design really *is* that tough, which would be both cool and cringe worthy at the same time.
 
2012-10-09 04:03:30 AM  
This article has an update in it saying that the satellite delivered to the incorrect orbit has an onboard propulsion system which might be used to raise it to the correct orbit. Yay for contingency plans.
 
2012-10-09 04:44:32 AM  
Yo SpaceX, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish but Apollo 6 had one of the best engine failures of all time!

/lost 2 of 5 engines on its second stage, check it out, yo.
 
2012-10-09 05:38:14 AM  

svenge: Yo SpaceX, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish but Apollo 6 had one of the best engine failures of all time!

/lost 2 of 5 engines on its second stage, check it out, yo.


"last unmanned mission"

2/5ths of the engines fail... lets put some dudes in there!
 
2012-10-09 07:00:33 AM  

brainscab: svenge: Yo SpaceX, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish but Apollo 6 had one of the best engine failures of all time!

/lost 2 of 5 engines on its second stage, check it out, yo.

"last unmanned mission"

2/5ths of the engines fail... lets put some dudes in there!


To be fair, Apollo 4 went off quite smoothly and they figured out the problems that Apollo 6 had. Remember, they were running out of time for Kennedy's "deadline", and no launch had ever killed anyone at that point (as Apollo 1 was during a simulation).
 
2012-10-09 07:34:04 AM  

Alonjar: doglover: This is why scientists are not the ideal people to direct the flow of progress. They'll min-max everything until you get a situation like the Mars landers where one little blooper in the production process means that now we can't search for life with the drill, even if we find it.

Wait, did I miss something? What happened to the drill?


It may be contaminated.
 
2012-10-09 07:36:10 AM  

doglover: This is why scientists are not the ideal people to direct the flow of progress.


Science doesn't direct the flow of progress because they were appointed or elected. Science only leads because it's not waiting for the rest of humanity to finish futzing around.

We occupy 0.0000000(a ridiculous number of zeroes)00001% of the known universe. And of that tiny bubble of influence, 99.9999(a somewhat less ridiculous number of 9s)999% has been trailblazed by science.

If you're biatching, it's open tryouts, but you've got a lot of catching up to do.
 
2012-10-09 07:38:08 AM  
So we have posts from `dismissive earth bound twat` (favourited as such anyway) saying "but we didn`t reach the nearest star so this is pointless" and posts from others saying "every journey starts with a single step"

We just need "big dumb boosters" as a SF author said once. Relatively cheap, no new tech, large capacity. Get lots of mass in space cheaper than we currently do. New tech for new problems, old tech for old problems. Just get it done and it`s done. At some point, like colonizing America, the benefits outweigh the costs and a new superpower will be born. Whichever country gets there first will rule the world.

China, Russia, India, or America. Your choice.
 
2012-10-09 07:39:44 AM  

lifeboat: Alonjar: doglover: This is why scientists are not the ideal people to direct the flow of progress. They'll min-max everything until you get a situation like the Mars landers where one little blooper in the production process means that now we can't search for life with the drill, even if we find it.

Wait, did I miss something? What happened to the drill?

It may be contaminated.


headline "Curiosity could be carrying Earth bacteria, threatening search for introducing Mars life"

FTFA
 
2012-10-09 07:45:05 AM  

cyberspacedout: This article has an update in it saying that the satellite delivered to the incorrect orbit has an onboard propulsion system which might be used to raise it to the correct orbit. Yay for contingency plans.


Probably not though They couldn't use the Falcon second stage since it would have left stuff in an orbit similar to the ISS and even if they use the maneuvering fuel on the Orbcomm it means the satellite won't have enough to last a normal mission.

Bummer, but a hell of a lot better than both ending up at the bottom of the Atlantic.
 
2012-10-09 07:47:12 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: GleeUnit: Quantum Apostrophe: Riotboy: I'm glad it made it.

/the ISS is a achievement for humans

How so? What does it achieve? For which humans?

Oh, nothing really. For anyone.

That reads like a condo brochure. Not too much substance. It looks like any web page for any company or university tooting its own horn. None of those items on that list requires space or free fall, sorry. More PR nonsense for a lost cause. And why can't these experiments be performed by automated units? No ISS required, no people required.

But that's not grandiose and romantic, is it.


We know, Quantum Apostrophe, we know. Manned spaceflight is the tinfoil hat that space nutters use to keep life extension out of their brain waves.

I'm glad the mission so far is a success, despite losing an engine. Commercial flight is in a pretty early stage of development right now, and failed missions would be just the ammunition that certain elements in congress need to cancel the NASA commercial contracts program, which would set things back quite a bit.
 
2012-10-09 08:44:40 AM  

dready zim: So we have posts from `dismissive earth bound twat` (favourited as such anyway) saying "but we didn`t reach the nearest star so this is pointless" and posts from others saying "every journey starts with a single step"

We just need "big dumb boosters" as a SF author said once. Relatively cheap, no new tech, large capacity. Get lots of mass in space cheaper than we currently do. New tech for new problems, old tech for old problems. Just get it done and it`s done. At some point, like colonizing America, the benefits outweigh the costs and a new superpower will be born. Whichever country gets there first will rule the world.

China, Russia, India, or America. Your choice.


Zeon. Filthy Earthbound.

/Can't wait to see humanity further into space.
//Too old now to be part of the pioneering.
 
2012-10-09 08:49:58 AM  
Oh QA, quit your damned cowardly caterwauling.
 
2012-10-09 09:26:42 AM  
It does cause me to wonder why the NASA commentary said all 9 Merlin engines were working nominally around the time of the failure.
 
2012-10-09 09:37:45 AM  
Looks to me like the engine bell shattered, at least from the video.
I think the NASA announcement was along the lines of "everything was fine until something broke".
 
2012-10-09 09:46:37 AM  

OnlyM3: I didn't know glock made rocket engines.


You're thinking of Glushko
 
2012-10-09 10:13:35 AM  

Reverend Monkeypants: Riotboy: I'm glad it made it.

/the ISS is a achievement for humans

/so is an grammar


That's what happens when I don't use the Preview button

/oh well, whatever, nevermind
 
2012-10-09 10:21:50 AM  
www.kenmist.com 

What do you expect when they use the same engines that powered the WWII Lancaster? Just kidding, not sure why they didn't call the Falcon 9 engines "Merlin II" or something else.
 
2012-10-09 01:08:48 PM  

Riotboy: Reverend Monkeypants: Riotboy: I'm glad it made it.

/the ISS is a achievement for humans

/so is an grammar

That's what happens when I don't use the Preview button

/oh well, whatever, nevermind


I rarely go full on "grammar nazi". My terrible with grammar muchly; was mood.
 
2012-10-09 03:38:06 PM  

eyefarkno: Just kidding, not sure why they didn't call the Falcon 9 engines "Merlin II" or something else.


....because they aren't made by farking Rolls-Royce?
 
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