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Antares launch/failure discussion.

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nice scorch marks.

whats in those big tanks left of the launchpad?

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nice scorch marks.

whats in those big tanks left of the launchpad?

Probably rocket fuel. They do seem a bit close to the launchpad.

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How much does it cost per launch, anyway?

The press release for the CRS contracts states "At the time of award, NASA has ordered eight flights valued at about $1.9 billion from Orbital and 12 flights valued at about $1.6 billion from SpaceX.", which means that NASA pays around $240 million for each Cygnus flight and $133 million for each Dragon flight. This isn't the "cost per launch", which would include a whole lot of fixed costs, including infrastructure and development, which are confidential corporate information. So it's pretty much impossible to estimate the "cost per launch" from the outside.

I'm guessing that NASA pays for the cargo (the snacks, clean underwear, and science experiments). Governments usually insure themselves (meaning that they are not insured), so anything that was on-board is a write off. Probably less than a couple million dollars here.

Orbital provides the service of delivering the cargo. In this case, the service wasn't provided, si I'm guessing that the contract says that they owe NASA another flight. The rocket and spacecraft belong to them, so either they were insured and the cost of the vehicle is paid back, or they weren't and it's a loss for them. Hopefully, this sort of contigency was provisioned.

As for the infrastructure damage, Wallops Island facilities belong to NASA and are leased to the launch provider. I'm not sure who pays for the damage here, but it's probably Orbital's insurance.

All in all, I don't think this failure is a huge financial disaster for anyone. It's a relatively inexpensive rocket carrying a relatively inexpensive cargo and the structural damage is minor. The actual inquiry will probably cost more than the failure itself.

Edited by Nibb31

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Now that that's out of the way, have they said exactly what went wrong?

The rocket exploded.

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The rocket exploded.

Mr.Rocketman, can you please explain what happened to the Antares in your own words?

The rocket exploded.

Well, at least we know that much.

:wink:

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According to the initial engine manufacturer, Kuznetsov of Samara, the engines worked just fine. That settles that then.

YES! I am so glad!! :D It must be Ukrainian fuel tank then, poor guys ;.;

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I was being sarcastic, sorry if that wasn't obvious. Kuznetov aren't even involved in the investigation, but they can say their engines worked fine because... they just did, alright?

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I was being sarcastic, sorry if that wasn't obvious. Kuznetov aren't even involved in the investigation, but they can say their engines worked fine because... they just did, alright?

If Kuznetov say their engines worked fine because they worked fine then that means they are pulling statements out of their ass. To say honestly, I don't understand why they might want to do that because the truth will get out anyway.

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You were not being sarcastic, Kryten, just disinformative. They didn't say everything was OK with engines. They've used the term штðтýыù рõöøü - regular mode. It usually means engines weren't over- or under throttled and they were operating inside their designated operation margins. Until they blew up, that is.

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Sorry, google translate just got them repeatedly stating that they were 'nominal'.

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Well, yes, that's what "nominal" means, isn't it? It's always "nominal... until": "engines were nominal until plane has collided with the ground" or "engine was nominal until some bolt was cut off". There's always "until" - unknown at the moment. It means only that something has happened. My guess is that it was intended as an answer for the claim that Orbitals overthrottled the engines: I've read somewhere that NK-33 were certified only up to 106% throttle, and there's "108%" (Flight Control?) comment in the video.

Edited by J.Random

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@J.Random, no that's not what they said. They said "nominal" and meant their part was ok.

Let me translate one quote from there (I keep closer to literal translation):

"It's important to note that the AJ-26 engines worked nominally." - stated the press department.

I guess if they saw any telemetry, it would have been mentioned.

They remind that the engine had deep modification by Aerojet: "Those systems that tilt the combustion chambers change its usage characteristics a lot. All the new systems were tested and certified by the American side without employing our specialists. Essentially, Aj-26 engine is doing test flights now."

"They have their own equipment that could have failed." So this means nothing, and is just a bad PR guy who makes irresponsible statements.

Edited by Kulebron

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They said "nominal" and meant their part was ok.

That's not how doublespeak used by (any) officials works.:wink:

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They remind that the engine had deep modification by Aerojet: "Those systems that tilt the combustion chambers change its usage characteristics a lot. All the new systems were tested and certified by the American side without employing our specialists. Essentially, Aj-26 engine is doing test flights now."

Shhh.... Don't tell that to Kryten - he still thinks it's just "5 valves and the control unit" ;)

Edited by Sky_walker

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Shhh.... Don't tell that to Kryten - he still thinks it's just "5 valves and the control unit" ;)

Prove it isn't. Aerojet added a TVC unit, but it isn't part of the engine; it's a unit in the rocket that shifts the entire engine around, turbopump and all. It's extremely unlikely it could cause a failure like this.

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Prove it isn't. Aerojet added a TVC unit, but it isn't part of the engine; it's a unit in the rocket that shifts the entire engine around, turbopump and all. It's extremely unlikely it could cause a failure like this.

You even bothered to read Aerojet their website?

http://www.rocket.com/aj26

Aerojet Rocketdyne modernized a gimbal block for thrust vectoring capability, gimbaling feedlines, new wiring harnesses and electrical circuitry, electromechanical valve actuators and instrumentation.

And BTW: As far as I'm concerned (and apparently: Aerojet too) gimbal mechanism in AJ-26 is one of the engine components.

Edited by Sky_walker

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The gimbal block and feedlines are the parts I mentioned. NK-33 as standard has absolutely no TVC capability; N-1 used differential thrust and separate roll units, and Soyuz 2.1V has a separate vernier engine. The rest is control unit and valves, exactly as I said.

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The gimbal block and feedlines are the parts I mentioned. NK-33 as standard has absolutely no TVC capability; N-1 used differential thrust and separate roll units, and Soyuz 2.1V has a separate vernier engine. The rest is control unit and valves, exactly as I said.

ok, we can keep on repeating what we know, won't change anything.

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They didn't do a thing to the combustion chamber, nozzle or turbopump, exactly as I'd already said. If you want to pretend welding on a few hydraulic actuators could have anything to do with what happened, go ahead.

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