Originally posted by davesidious
reply to post by Point of No Return
The holes might not be random - as I've said before, it's far from unthinkable that the third stage maneuvering rockets fired early, which would certainly account for the spiral. And being "next to each other" might make it spin, it all depends on the angle of the ejection.
In davesidious's opinion as well as mine, we're firmly entrenched in our belief (backed up by considerable data and analysis) that there is absolutely NO doubt whatsoever that the initiation of the entire spiral was definitely caused by a Russian Bulava missile test.
However, as for the creation and maintenance of the main spiral itself, at this point we diverge.
Having said that, I can totally understand where davesidious is coming from and his explanation for the spiraling effect as being the direct result of 3rd stage spin combined with the ejection of some kind of material from within the 3rd stage and resulting in the observed spiral artifact.
On the surface, this would appear to be a perfectly valid explanation and add to it the fact that it occurred above the atmosphere (in space) with diminished gravity and friction, then throw in Newton and it looks as if we have the answer. Initially, I tended to also lean in this direction as the obvious explanation ... but the deeper I looked, the less obvious that answer seemed to become.
Ok, I think at this point we need to do another analysis of the main spiral and see if we either confirm or refute the above explanation.
Let's start by trying to determine if there actually were any leaks obvious in the 3rd stage fuselage as 'officially' claimed and if so, how many and how are they separated, as this will have a considerable bearing on whether a spiral shape can even be created.
Obviously if there are no leaks, well then, no spiral would be created ... goes without saying. If there is 1 leak, might still get something looking like a spiral. If we have 2 leaks, should produce a good spiral. 3 leaks or more and I think whatever shape is created, would not look much like a spiral.
I think we can all agree on what I've just said ... as it's fairly elementary.
So we now need to confirm how many 'creation' points appear to be active in the main spiral ... to do this, I've searched thru all the available photos and settled on the following 2 as giving the best view of what may be happening at the center of the spiral:
As is quite clear and obvious, the spiral effect is DEFINITELY being produced by 'something' being ejected at 2 very distinct points. Also, these 2 points appear to be diametrically opposite one another which is only to be expected for the best shaped spiral effect.
So far so good ... we have 2 ejection points and they're opposite each other ... nothing so far to discredit the 'mechanical failure' scenario.
Having confirmed that 'something' is being dispersed, we now need to analyze exactly how that dispersion effect would appear to an observer on the ground. Does it look like a spiral shape to the observer or something totally different ?
Ok, before I continue, we know from my earlier analysis that because we have an obvious trajectory that the spiral event followed, it immediately tells us that whatever created the spiral effect (failed 3rd stage or some other mechanism), that it was NOT stationary in the sky but was moving at considerable speed relative to the observers. So in our continuing analysis, we most certainly have to factor in this speed component as this will have a significant contribution to the eventual shape created.
Now if we continue with our assumption that the 3rd stage was responsible, we now have to ask ourselves what possible flight orientations could that 3rd stage find itself in. If you think about it, there are essentially only 2 likely scenarios ... either the 3rd stage is leaking but has maintained flight stability OR the 3rd stage is leaking but has NOT maintained flight stability, in other words, the 3rd stage is pitching and rolling in an uncontrolled manner ... we call this 'tumbling'.
Can anyone think of any other potential attitude configuration the 3rd stage could have found itself in ? I can't. It's either stable or it's not !
Lets now look at both these 2 flight modes in turn ... we'll start with the leaking but stable mode.
In the stable mode, it really makes no difference to our analysis whether main thrust was on or off as the 3rd stage would in either case continue to follow the trajectory it was on for the brief few mins of the event (Newtons Law).
So having disregarded the thrust vector, this leaves us with 2 remaining vectors to take into account ... the predictable rotational vector imparted along the main axis of the 3rd stage to provide stability (similar in principle to the spinning bullet leaving a gun) ... and the unpredictable thrust/rotational vectors resulting from material being ejected from the 2 ejection points.
Now to maintain forward flight stability, we need to assume that both ejection points are ejecting material perpendicular to the flight direction, otherwise unbalanced forces will come into play and have a significant detrimental effect on spiral creation.
The above is a lot to take in, especially if I'm not making myself particularly clear and understood ... so what say it's time for a pic that shows the 2 main translational vectors we need to consider !
Lets now take a look at the 2nd scenario where the 3rd stage is still following the trajectory but is in unstable mode ... it's essentially tumbling.
Now tumbling can be simple or complex.
With simple, the tumbling occurs essentially only over 2 axis e.g. forward tumbling with head over tail ... and predictable.
With complex tumbling, the tumbling occurs over all 3 axis and essentially chaotic and unpredictable.
We're going to assume the simpler of the 2 tumbling modes during our continuing analysis.
Here's another pic showing the many vectors in play during unstable (tumbling) mode:
Obviously based on the above, it can clearly be seen that out of the 2 main flight attitude modes that the Bulava may have found itself in, the simplest of the 2 modes would be the one most likely to have any chance of producing a stable spiral effect.
Now, lets go back to the simpler mode and try to work out what sort of 'effect' might be produced.
Let me remind you once again, that from the observers point of view (especially at Skjervoy), the trajectory came in from the observers right, moved across the observers field of view, then continued of to the observers left. This immediately tells us that in simple mode, the Bulava must have been presenting its entire length as it crossed in front of the observer ... this therefore implies that the 'leaks' would have travelled either towards OR away from the observer (as the Bulava spun along its axis).
This being the case, that will result in any spiral effect being created, only being visible EDGE ON from the observers location. No question or debate about it ... just simple geometry.
Here's the 'edge-on' view overlayed the actual 'full on' view at Skjervoy:
You can argue all you like but there is NO WAY that the 3rd stage flying in the above configuration could produce an effect that would be visible full on ... only an EDGE-ON view would be possible for the Skjervoy observer.
Continued next post