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Russian Proton Rocket Failure - MexSat-1

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posted on May, 16 2015 @ 06:40 AM
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Russia has suffered its second orbital rocket failure in the last 3 weeks. The Proton rocket contracted to launch the MexSat-1 communications satellite failed about 8 1/2 minutes after liftoff.

From the Spaceflight Now article linked above:

The state-owned Tass news agency reported the preliminary cause of the accident was in the steering engine on the Proton’s third stage. A Russian space industry source quoted by Tass said the rocket likely fell back to the ground from an altitude of 160 kilometers — about 100 miles — and burned up in the atmosphere.


This failure comes on the heels of the Progress 27-M failure on April 28. With these two failures, both of Russia's workhorse rockets, the Soyuz and Proton vehicles, have been stood down pending the results of failure investigations.

NASA Spaceflight has also posted an informative article about the launch.




posted on May, 16 2015 @ 06:52 AM
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It because the refurbished engines they are using are starting to age badly and there's no money in the kitty to replace them.

Things are only going to get worse for the Russian space agency. Its a shame too as Russian have contributed so much to space exploration.



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 08:44 AM
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originally posted by: crazyewok
It because the refurbished engines they are using are starting to age badly and there's no money in the kitty to replace them.

You might be thinking of the AJ-26 (refurbished NK-33 engines intended for the Soviet N-1) which were implicated in the Antares failure on October 28, 2014.

The Proton - even with failure-related stand downs, which have been happening with alarming regularity of late - launches multiple times each year and is in as close to serial production as rockets get; it's launched 29 times in the last 3 full years (2012, 2013, and 2014). The manufacturer's website lists the 3rd stage engine under their current products. With relatively high flight rates (as rockets go), the engine would be in production, not using up decades-old inventory.


originally posted by: crazyewok
Things are only going to get worse for the Russian space agency. Its a shame too as Russian have contributed so much to space exploration.

Unfortunately, I have to agree. The repeated failure of a proven launch vehicle like Proton is indicative not of a failure of engineering but of quality control.
edit on 16-5-2015 by PhloydPhan because: Fixed HTML Tags



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 08:47 AM
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originally posted by: crazyewok
It because the refurbished engines they are using are starting to age badly and there's no money in the kitty to replace them.

Things are only going to get worse for the Russian space agency. Its a shame too as Russian have contributed so much to space exploration.

Okay, any opportunity to bash the Russians…


Modern versions of the launch system are still in use as of 2015, making it one of the most successful heavy boosters in the history of spaceflight.

They even make money with it…


Since 1994, Proton has earned $4.3 billion for the Russian space industry, and by 2011 this figure is expected to rise to $6 billion.

It services the ISS, outlasting any US program to date, also chosen by even the Mexicans over the US to get spaced.

Failure to launch is better than no launch at all.


ETA: Wiki
edit on 16-5-2015 by intrptr because: lnk



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 09:28 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
It services the ISS, outlasting any US program to date, also chosen by even the Mexicans over the US to get spaced.

Failure to launch is better than no launch at all.


While Proton was used to launch the Zarya and Zvezda ISS modules in 1998 and 2000, it hasn't launched any ISS components since; I hate to be pedantic, but saying that it "services the ISS" is a bit of a push...

In addition, Proton might be a long-lasting program, but the Russians have wanted to replace it since at least 1992, when the Russian military requested proposals for what would ultimately become the Angara rocket, the first two versions of which flew in flight tests just last year. Proton has always been a finicky launcher; the current version, the Proton M, has a 90.5% success rate. In addition, it uses carcinogenic propellants and launches out of Kazakhstan. The Russians would desperately like to replace it with kerolox Angaras flying out of Vostochny.

Finally, Mexico didn't simply choose a Russian launcher over a US launcher; they chose to launch the 3 separate MexSat satellites on three different launchers, presumably (at least in part) to allow for the possibility of a launch failure. MexSat-3 launched first, in 2012, on an Ariane 5. MexSat-1 was lost in the Proton failure today. MexSat-2 is scheduled to launch on an Atlas V this October.



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 09:36 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

This is not a bash at the Russians mate.

What the Russians have done is amazing but some of your engines designs are getting on abit.



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 10:33 AM
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Quality control also needs a lot of money. Space is a risky place and one huge graveyard. The more launches, the more failures, but more is learned. Take the politics out of it, and you find other nations just as sad with a failure, and as ecstatic with a success. The reality, for all nations, is that space, is hard.



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 10:43 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
They even make money with it…

"Since 1994, Proton has earned $4.3 billion for the Russian space industry, and by 2011 this figure is expected to rise to $6 billion.

It services the ISS, outlasting any US program to date, also chosen by even the Mexicans over the US to get spaced.

Failure to launch is better than no launch at all.


Maybe they should put some of those profits back into the pipeline for maintenance and upkeep. It may be possible that they are trying to take too much of the revenue as profit rather than pumping more of that revenue back into the program.


edit on 5/16/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:14 AM
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a reply to: PhloydPhan



it hasn't launched any ISS components since; I hate to be pedantic, but saying that it "services the ISS" is a bit of a push…

Buliding the ISS and servicing it are two different subjects.

Little else is "pushing" astronauts or supplies up there…



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:18 AM
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a reply to: crazyewok



This is not a bash at the Russians mate.

What the Russians have done is amazing but some of your engines designs are getting on bait.

Nice dig at me, too.

I'm not Russian, nor are we "mates".



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:18 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: PhloydPhan



it hasn't launched any ISS components since; I hate to be pedantic, but saying that it "services the ISS" is a bit of a push…

Buliding the ISS and servicing it are two different subjects.

Little else is "pushing" astronauts or supplies up there…

Astronauts, no. However, the ESA and SpaceX have also sent resupply missions.

SpaceX and the NASA will probably also have future modernized crew-rated systems for getting astronauts to LEO (and the ISS) before the Russians are able to replace their current aging Proton launch system.

The Soyuz capsule is a workhorse that may still be around for years to come, but it needs a modernized launch vehicle, which may take years to develop.


edit on 5/16/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:21 AM
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originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People

originally posted by: intrptr
They even make money with it…

"Since 1994, Proton has earned $4.3 billion for the Russian space industry, and by 2011 this figure is expected to rise to $6 billion.

It services the ISS, outlasting any US program to date, also chosen by even the Mexicans over the US to get spaced.

Failure to launch is better than no launch at all.


Maybe they should put some of those profits back into the pipeline for maintenance and upkeep. It may be possible that they are trying to take too much of the revenue as profit rather than pumping more of that revenue back into the program.



Maybe the US could learn to profit from them. We already accept 'rides'.



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:28 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr

originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People

originally posted by: intrptr
They even make money with it…

"Since 1994, Proton has earned $4.3 billion for the Russian space industry, and by 2011 this figure is expected to rise to $6 billion.

It services the ISS, outlasting any US program to date, also chosen by even the Mexicans over the US to get spaced.

Failure to launch is better than no launch at all.


Maybe they should put some of those profits back into the pipeline for maintenance and upkeep. It may be possible that they are trying to take too much of the revenue as profit rather than pumping more of that revenue back into the program.



Maybe the US could learn to profit from them. We already accept 'rides'.

I don't know. If there is truly a systematic issue with the maintenance and upkeep of the Russians launch systems due to not enough revenue being pump back into the system for maintenance, then I'm not sure if that's a model to emulate.

I have no problem with a private firm such as SpaceX profiting from spaceflight (as long as they spend enough on safety and fleet maintenance), but I don't think NASA should be in the business of profiting from spaceflight. NASA's revenues-above-operating costs should not be returned to NASA as profits, but rather returned for future R&D and for current maintenance.


edit on 5/16/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:36 AM
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originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People

originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: PhloydPhan



it hasn't launched any ISS components since; I hate to be pedantic, but saying that it "services the ISS" is a bit of a push…

Buliding the ISS and servicing it are two different subjects.

Little else is "pushing" astronauts or supplies up there…

Astronauts, no. However, the ESA and SpaceX have also sent resupply missions.

SpaceX and the NASA will probably also have future modernized crew-rated systems for getting astronauts to LEO (and the ISS) before the Russians are able to replace their current aging Proton launch system.

The Soyuz capsule is a workhorse that may still be around for years to come, but it needs a modernized launch vehicle, which may take years to develop.

By this count its Progress, 63 and Spacex, 7.

The ISS would have been doomed long ago if it weren't for the Russians ferrying men and supplies there. The failure records of each tell all.

Thanks Russia, couldn't keep doing it without you. Not that I think maintaining an expensive orbiting hotel around the planet is necessary, either.



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:44 AM
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originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People
NASA's revenues-above-operating costs should not be returned to NASA as profits, but rather returned for future R&D and for current maintenance.

Now if we can only get the rockets to return safely as well.



edit on 16-5-2015 by intrptr because: confused



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:46 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr

originally posted by: Soylent Green Is People

originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: PhloydPhan



it hasn't launched any ISS components since; I hate to be pedantic, but saying that it "services the ISS" is a bit of a push…

Buliding the ISS and servicing it are two different subjects.

Little else is "pushing" astronauts or supplies up there…

Astronauts, no. However, the ESA and SpaceX have also sent resupply missions.

SpaceX and the NASA will probably also have future modernized crew-rated systems for getting astronauts to LEO (and the ISS) before the Russians are able to replace their current aging Proton launch system.

The Soyuz capsule is a workhorse that may still be around for years to come, but it needs a modernized launch vehicle, which may take years to develop.

By this count its Progress, 63 and Spacex, 7.

The ISS would have been doomed long ago if it weren't for the Russians ferrying men and supplies there. The failure records of each tell all.

Thanks Russia, couldn't keep doing it without you....


I never said this wasn't true. Russia is currently the major contributor to launches to the ISS. since 2011, it has provided 100% of crew launches, and a huge % of supply launches.

However, it's not as if the U.S., the ESA, or private industry does not have the technological know-how to do it. It's simply a case that the U.S. has chosen to retire their shuttle fleet and chosen to rely on the Russians for the current time. The U.S. could have continued with the shuttle program if they chose to, but it was cost-prohibitive in the current economic climate.

So NASA made the decision to use the Russians until SpaceX has the crew-rated Dragon ready and until NASA has the Ares 1 and the Orion ready, rather than extending the life of the Shuttle, or rigging a temporary system using a Delta rocket to launch resupply missions.


edit on 5/16/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:48 AM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People


The U.S. could have continued with the shuttle program if they chose to, but it was cost-prohibitive in the current economic climate.

Way over designed for its purpose, too.

Russian rockets been returning with astronauts for decades. How many deaths are there?



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:52 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Soylent Green Is People


The U.S. could have continued with the shuttle program if they chose to, but it was cost-prohibitive in the current economic climate.

Way over designed for its purpose, too.

Russian rockets been returning with astronauts for decades. How many deaths are there?


Yes it was. That's why the U.S. is developing new launch systems (both NASA directly, and NASA via SpaceX).

However, it's not like the U.S. has no launch system at all. NASA has a capable launch system in the Delta and Atlas launch vehicles to get payloads into LEO, GSO, and even beyond Earth orbit (using a Centaur). However, they do not have a supply craft for docking that payload to the ISS.

I mean, it's not like the U.S. and NASA don't have the ability to efficiently and economically launch anything. They do it all the time. They just don't have the specific hardware at this time to resupply the ISS. That's why they use the Russians.

The issue is the future. NASA and SpaceX are in the process of developing efficient 21st-century launch vehicles, and companies such as Rocketdyne and ULA are developing new engines. And all the while the Russians may be in danger of lagging behind due to not investing enough money and resources into developing new systems of their own, or not modernizing the systems they are currently using.



edit on 5/16/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 11:58 AM
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a reply to: PhloydPhan

Russia needs to invest money.....badly. They are world leaders and if they continue to fail and not invest someone is going to pick up the slack and Russia will be left behind.



posted on May, 16 2015 @ 12:21 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

You said:

"Failure to launch is better than no launch at all."

Put a lot of thought into that did you?




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