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back to article Russian Progress space truck crashes in Siberia

The Russians have lost an unmanned Progress supply vessel which blasted off at 13:00 GMT today from Baikonur Cosmodrome en route to the International Space Station. The country's Roscosmos space agency issued a brief statement explaining that the third stage of the Soyuz rocket tasked with lifting the space truck had failed 325 …

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Black Helicopters

exactly as someone planned

Is it a coincidence that this happens so close to press articles about US-based third party space transport companies testing their wares?

I think not.

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Anonymous Coward

Understatement

"was not placed in the correct orbit"

Alternatively "orbiting at negative altitude".

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Joke

The best orbits...

...are those that do not intersect with the ground.

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Mushroom

Perspective

That really depends of perspective to be honest. I quite enjoy watching those ground intersecting orbits when its not my responsibility.

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Silver badge

"was not placed in the correct orbit"

Unfortunately the orbit actually achieved had perigee with a negative elevation above the mean see level...

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Headmaster

*sea level

Did you mean sea level?

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I did

Typo...

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Pint

In other news

The Hindenburg suffered from insufficient cooling.

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Windows

Unfortunate, but...

I think this old rocket still has an excellent success record.

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Anonymous Coward

You mean they now have one failure...

From 1700+ launches? I was pretty shocked when I looked that up. It puts 130 shuttle launches into perspective.

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Boffin

Where exactly did you look that up?

"... the safety record of the Soyuz-U rocket -- 745 successful launches and just 21 failures over nearly four decades"

My source: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/station/exp28/110824prog44p/index2.html

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Anonymous Coward

According to wikipedia

Soyuz- U

Total launches 745

Successes 724

Failures 21

2.8% Failure Rate.

Space Shuttle

Total launchers: 132

Successes: 130

Failures: 2

1.5% failure rate

So the space shuttle was actually more reliable.

Where did you get the 1,700 launches from? I imagine there is probably some "this site counted older version while other site didn't" thing going on.

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Boffin

Statistics

Can't remember what the appropriate statistics are for N experiments with a binary outcome (success | fail) but my gut feeling is that the above is insufficient data to prove (within 2 standard deviations) that the shuttle was significantly more reliable.

Anyone care to supply the maths?

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Bronze badge

soyuz

http://www.starsem.com/news/releases.htm

http://www.arianespace.com/arianespace/news-press-release/2011/6-28-2011-1773-soyuz-launch.asp

To be fair, they are probably counting *everything* in the soyuz family. There is a reliable site (ie not wakypedia) with the correct breakdown to each rocket type somewhere, but I can't immediately find it. They certainly didn't just start at 1500 though.

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Alert

Soyuz: U v's Family.

It's AC's title inference that they only had one failure that raises the biggest question. It is certainly not the case.

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Bronze badge

Indeed.

The Soyuz safety record isn't perfect, it's just similar to the shuttle, which is impressive given it's done ~15 times the number of launches. It costs about a tenth of the amount as well.

Roll on the SpaceX rockets.

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Black Helicopters

Bit of luck...

That we aren't relying on Soyuz as the only means of getting people to the station... Oh, hang on...

A cynic might suggest the the Russians will carry out an extensive investigation that results in launch prices going through the roof!

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We always were.

The Shuttle couldn't stay up long enough to serve as an emergency lifeboat. Only the Soyuz meets that requirement at present.

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quite so

It appears to be rather reliable. So really I dont see a problem with that.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Delta_Mission/SEM8XK57ESD_0.html

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Happy

@TychoLien

Even bigger bit of luck that what crashed was *not* a Soyuz but a Progress supply ship.

Same origins, different design.

You might also note early indications are the 3rd stage was to blame. Had this *been* a crewed mission they would have hit the abort button or manually separated if too high.

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Anonymous Coward

@John Smith 19

And the name of the rocket is? And what failed?

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Alert

Suspicious

I think this is a bit of a coincidence. I'm not going to suggest sabotage like other commentards might, but these things have normally been quite reliable, and I think that this is the 6th launch failure this year for the Russians.

Normally after a couple of failures everyone is on their best behaviour and trying to not make any mistakes lest someone cut their nads off (or out, can't be sexist!).

Even more suspicious is that these failures are not all on a common platform...

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Silver badge

Bah!

"was not placed in the correct orbit"

NASA could use this spokesman.

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People carrier?

I hope this isn't a variant of what might be used to ferry astronauts to the ISS now the shuttle is retired. Sounds like a reliability review is in order.

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Joke

toilet parts...

The BBC report suggests..

"There are a number of factors that might prompt the ISS partners to lower the complement [of ISS]. One would be the desire to slow the use of those consumables, such as toilet parts, that are depleted more rapidly and therefore need more regular replenishment."

One wonders after watching the rocket blow up, whether those toilet parts are being depleted more rapidly than usual up there!

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Boffin

Possibly

But bear in mind that manned launch configurations differ massively from unmanned launches, and that the pre-flight checks have different levels of risk assigned to them. In order to make launches as cost-efficient as possible compared with the risk, there's a fair chance that had there been people on the top of that stack, it wouldn't have launched.

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FAIL

Understatement

Also known as a subterranean orbit.

Dave

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Joke

In Soviet Russia.....

flying rocket delivers presents to baby reindeer!!

(Ok, its not that good, but I made an effort)

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Pint

The way the "In Soviet Russia..." meme works

is that in Soviet Russia, an object you normally do an action to or with, does that action to you instead. For example, "In Soviet Russia, television watches YOU!" - where normally *you* watch television. So a more apropos example for this subject might be something like "In Soviet Russia, the rocket flies into YOU!" - as opposed to you flying in(to?) the rocket. ;)

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Silver badge
FAIL

the ISS clusterf__k

At some point I wonder if NASA will be forced to admit the ISS is the most expensive f__kup in space history. It has done very little for science and now that the only way to get there is looking more and more iffy wonder how long they will continue the charade. For what the ISS cost we could have went to Mars.

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not really

Sure it might seem like it, but seeing NASA, and the others have sights set beyond the planet when would you want to learn your toilet/water recycler had design issues when in space, and broke down(or something equally needed)? when its in orbit close to the planet, and you can get parts to fix it easily, or halfway to mars or even on the moon?

It might not seem it but in all honesty its a giant experiment in itself, and a giant test bed for different technologies.

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Bronze badge

Hmm...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_research_on_the_ISS

No value?

And going to mars is something which has been helped by the ISS (in terms of studies on long term microgravity environments on the human body)

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Silver badge

No Big Deal

Rockets and spacecraft fail. If you consider how few launches (of anything) have actually been made, the success rate is about what you'd expect from a highly complex system full of electronics and explody things. A key factor is a lanuch is rarely "standard" - things are different for each launch which makes it exponentially harder to identify failures. Until there is a viable financial reason to send things into space, getting there will be science: Very expensive experiments undertaken by governments and rich people.

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Coat

and the question that conspiracy nuts are asking is...

...did it come down vertically, and if so, how many trees did it flatten in a radiating pattern?

Ahem. I'll get me coat ;-)

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Joke

As every good trekker knows...

..when discussing Russian hardware it is customary to refer to them as 'wessels'

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Why was it launched anyway?

If they had enough supplies to last a year, why was it launched in the first place? What was it full of? HP Touchpads?

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Joke

HP Touchpads???

Nahh..

space is the only place left where Apple haven't tried to put an injunction on Galaxy Tabs...

... yet!

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CT

"quite reliable"

puts space travel into perspective against other kinds of travel when "quite reliable" is used to describe a rate of ~1-3% catastrophic failures.

(using the figures from earlier posters in these comments)

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Facepalm

track record

Aren't these the same fellows who lost a satellite recently?

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Trollface

We need a new skit for this one...

"Well, obviously this ship wasn't placed right"

"You mean these ships need to be placed properly?"

"Oh absolutely! This one wasn't even in the right orbit!"

"Which orbit would that be, then?"

"Well, obviously the one where it crashed, you see..."

"So then you have orbits that aren't like that?"

"Of course! I don't want people thinking this ship was unsafe due to errors in the design or anything, it was simply not placed in the correct orbit..."

"So there are safer orbits, for the ships to be in?"

"Absolutely! There are plenty of orbits out there, after all."

"That are safer for the ship?"

"Definitely!"

"Such as?"

"Well, the ones where they don't crash into the earth during orbit, obviously."

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