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NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-22, 05:50 PM
Sanity check, please... I read this article, and was thrown over the edge again.

NASA destroys rocket after failed launch (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26346444/)
They keep using the word "satellite", and according to the (very short) article on CNN, it was a sub-orbital shot. That does not compute to me.

They also mention about the danger of the debris, but give no details about it. Sounds almost like they just want to say "OOOH BAD".

Then this quote:


Rominger declined to put a value on the one-of-a-kind rocket, which he said was developed over the past few years to learn firsthand about launch vehicles and to test new technologies.

NASA doesn't have firsthand knowledge of launch vehicles? I can understand ATK's interest, and I can understand a testbed, but this sentence just seems poorly written considering there is no detail.

"We knew the risks of launching payloads on a first-of-a-kind rocket," said Juan Alonso, director of NASA's fundamental aeronautics program.
They actually chopped the quote, left the comma in to show it is a partial quote, and that's the end of the article? What risks, and what expectations?

When I first saw the (short) article on CNN, I thought, "Big deal, a Wallops test misfired and was aborted".

Now this article just makes it sound worse.

How active is the launch activity at Wallops nowadays anyway?

novaderrik
2008-Aug-23, 04:34 AM
oh no.. the first launch of a one of a kind experimental rocket was a failure..
we might as well cut off all funding to NASA and use the money to buy pet bunnies for homeless people in Africa.

slang
2008-Aug-23, 11:28 PM
More here (http://www.bautforum.com/universe-today-story-comments/78005-videos-nasa-atk-rocket-failure.html).

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-25, 01:10 PM
More here (http://www.bautforum.com/universe-today-story-comments/78005-videos-nasa-atk-rocket-failure.html).
Except for the video...not really.

I was hoping for some insight to my questions.

Larry Jacks
2008-Aug-25, 01:59 PM
From the OP's linked article:

NASA destroyed an unmanned experimental rocket carrying a pair of research satellites Friday when it veered off course shortly after an early morning liftoff.

You have to remember that a large percentage of reporters don't know very much about space (or aviation, or computers, or economics, etc). Instead of using the word "satellites", they should've said "payloads" or "experiments." They weren't satellites because they never intended to achieve orbit.

They choose to launch two one-of-a-kind research payloads on an unproven rocket. As we've seen with many other rockets, early launch attempts are often unsuccessful (as in Delta III, Ariane V, SpaceX Falcon I, etc.) I don't know why they chose to launch these payloads on an unproven rocket - maybe they got a really good price on the launch.

Wallops is active but they apparently don't launch all that often. Not too long ago, they launched a payload into orbit. From what I've read, they mostly do sounding rocket experiments.

slang
2008-Aug-25, 02:16 PM
Try this space.com article (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/080822-sn-wallops-failure.html) then, NEOWatcher, at least it has some more info on the payload.

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-25, 03:20 PM
Try this space.com article (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/080822-sn-wallops-failure.html) then, NEOWatcher, at least it has some more info on the payload.
Yes; thank you. Although, I suppose I will be wondering more about the rocket and the launch because of the "various proprietary technologies Rominger declined to identify".
I'm still wondering about "We knew the risks..." and the expected probability of failure.


...You have to remember that a large percentage of reporters don't know very much about space (or aviation, or computers, or economics, etc). Instead of using the word "satellites", they should've said "payloads" or "experiments."...
Yes; But for someone as large as CNN, you would think that they have someone scientific enough to pass this by. I should know better by know.

...I don't know why they chose to launch these payloads on an unproven rocket - maybe they got a really good price on the launch...
Yes; part of my wondering. I infer from the articles that the $17M is for only payload and integration.
I would assume that ATK took to cost of the rocket and test, but I also think it's possible for that all to be under some development contract too.


...From what I've read, they mostly do sounding rocket experiments.
That was my thinking, along with other sub-orbital testbeds (like the little Joe boilerplates and stuff like that).

Being that the test included a mach-8 experiment, is that enough to determine if the capabilities are any different than sounding or other test rockets in action today?

Larry Jacks
2008-Aug-25, 06:50 PM
I've read a little about the HyBolt test but not much in detail. I don't know the planned trajectory for the test. Mach 8 isn't too difficult for many sounding rockets.

Wind tunnel tests help engineers go with the flow (http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/improvingflight/hybolt.html)
The HyBolt - hitching a ride (http://spacestationinfo.blogspot.com/2008/08/hybolt-hitching-ride.html)
Hybolt launch failure (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/hybolt082508.xml&headline=HyBolt%20Launch%20Fails)

The last article mentioned the trajectory as being challenging but didn't provide any details. Perhaps they were flying a depressed trajectory to get a high dynamic pressure and overstressed the sounding rocket.

contributed to a loss of control that forced range-safety destruction of the experimental Alliant Techsystems ALV-X1 launcher early Aug. 22.

Kent Rominger, vice president for advanced programs at ATK, said the "very unique and demanding" trajectory imposed by the Hypersonic Boundary Layer Transition (HyBolt) experiment and the Sub-Orbital Aerodynamic Re-entry Experiment (SOAREX) may have overtaxed vehicle control systems.

"We flew a trajectory that anybody else stays away from," Rominger said. "The dynamic pressures were sixfold that of what some space vehicles see, that being the space shuttle... When you try to meet a trajectory like that you do innovative things to control systems and electronics. That's how it differs from a vehicle that's trying to do quite the opposite, which is get up out of the atmosphere... We intended to stay down in the atmosphere where we could have high dynamic pressures and look at the Reynolds numbers that HyBolt needed."

This NASA HyBolt (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20070028872_2007027140.pdf) document from 2006 has some planned trajectory information. Looking at the info on pages 4 & 5, it appears to me that they were planning on what looks like a depressed trajectory.

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-26, 12:14 PM
The last article mentioned the trajectory as being challenging but didn't provide any details. Perhaps they were flying a depressed trajectory to get a high dynamic pressure and overstressed the sounding rocket.
Thanks; That one does give some insight into the expected risks.

I would say that a 6x of normal pressure would be cause to expect a good possibility of failure. Takes the focus off of a design or construction issue. Of course, that still a factor, but sounds more like ambition than anything.