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Russian space agency Roscosmos has suspended use of its Proton-M rocket carriers with Briz-M boosters after one of them failed to put two satellites into orbit late yesterday. Proton-M blasts off with Telkom-3 and Express MD2 onboard The Proton rocket was launched successfully from Baikonur, but the secondary engine burn …

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Bronze badge
Unhappy

Strange....

The Ruskies are usually very good at this kind of 'rocket science'. First, it's Mars satellite (phobos-grunt, or whatever it's name was) goes tits-up, then this...

Siberian salt mines are gonna be crowded at this rate...

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Meh

Re: Strange....

It appears the parts that failed had 'Made in China' stamped on them.

Even Russia has got into sub-contracting on cost issues.

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NASA will surely be getting antsy with all the recent hiccups at Roscosmos. I wouldn't be surprised if they throw more money at SpaceX to accelerate the return of US space capability.

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NASA doesn't have any more money to throw at SpaceX

Congress (and their buddies at Boeing) makes damn sure of that.

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FAIL

Re: NASA doesn't have any more money to throw at SpaceX

Of course they do! NASA threw more cash at SpaceX just the other day: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/03/nasa_commercial_crew_investment/

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Go

Just don't negotiate so hard...

"NASA will surely be getting antsy with all the recent hiccups at Roscosmos. I wouldn't be surprised if they throw more money at SpaceX to accelerate the return of US space capability."

I'm pretty sure NASA simply doesn't negotiate the launch contracts as aggressively, because you get what you pay for. The Russian's can do a top rate launch, if you pay for it.

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Fuel.

Evidently those Russian boosters don't just burn rocket fuel; they burn money too.

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"until the emergency commission, which is likely to be established soon..."

Aka the Siberian tourist board...

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"Aka the Siberian tourist board..."

Normally called a "Mishap Investigation Board" or MIB.

The MIB will no doubt be dropping round various places for a little chat quite soon.

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FAIL

"To lose one satellite may be regarded as a misfortune,"

"to lose both looks like carelessness."

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Coat

AMERICA, F*CK YEAH!

Less than 24 hours after NASA's successful landing of Curiosity.

That's just all kinds of Ouch for the Russian space industry. At least for the unmanned side.

We'll ignore the manned side for just now.

Mine's the one with the old touristy Johnson Space Center stuff in the pocket.

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Re: AMERICA, F*CK YEAH!

Yes, best you ignore the manned side... They still have one!

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Go

Re: AMERICA, F*CK YEAH!

"Yes, best you ignore the manned side... They still have one!"

For some reason, it is not common knowledge, but NASA can order up a Saturn V type rocket, with the latest tech anytime they want. It is how the Mars rover was launched. I think NASA doesn't make a big deal about this, as they would prefer their international partners handle more of the ISS freight.

In fact, dumping the Shuttles was a good way to reduce NASA's involvement in the ISS, which is doing only ho-hum science these days. The only thing that the ISS can do for NASA, is study the long term effect of humans in space. Though they did most of that with Skylab, years earlier. And the impacts of the hard cosmic radiation on the human body, and protection against such radiation are hard to study from a low earth orbit which is still somewhat shielded by the earth's magnetic field. They'd prefer to have Russia use the Soyez rocket to supply the ISS.

Not to mention, the US also has Titan IV Heavy, which launches the worlds largest satellites. The Titan IV is exclusive to the Air Force now, and not rated for human flight, but someone has surely thought about how to make it rated for human flight.

I think it is good idea that NASA focus on the science and "never been done before" stuff, rather than operate a fleet of space trucks. NASA leaned as much as they could from the shuttles and not much more "never been done before" R&D can be done on launch rockets. It is a just a thrust vs. weight vs. cost formula now, and ratio can't be changed.

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WTF?

Re: AMERICA, F*CK YEAH!

What are you smoking?

"NASA can order up a Saturn V type rocket, with the latest tech anytime they want"

NASA don't even have the blueprints for the Saturn V anymore. Anyway why upgrade 1960's technology instead of creating something more efficient and cheaper. Saturn V was impressive, but it was brute force technology. Effective but expensive. The mars rover was launched on a Atlas V which has no relationship with the Saturn V. In fact the main engine is the RD-180 which is Russian designed and built.

The ISS is still doing great science and space science has come a long way from the Skylab days. Understanding how to combat the long term effects of space travel is our ticket off this rock pile. But there is a lot of fundamental science being done there as well which could only be achieved in a manned lab.

I am sure NASA would like there manned launch system, but the truth is NASA and congress dropped the ball on this one. It was not by choice or design.

As for making the Titan IV heavy human rated. This is a little bit more difficult than ticking some boxes. If it had been that easy ISS astronauts would not be riding on Soyuz rockets these days. It is also not being made anymore.

Whichever way you cut it, NASA and America blew there lead in manned space flight and no amount of sticking your head in the sand and shouting" well we never wanted to do it anyway" hides that fact.

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Re: AMERICA, F*CK YEAH!

The blueprints and other Saturn V plans are available on microfilm at the Marshall Space Flight Center, they are emphatically not lost. What is gone I believe is the tooling, and I imagine that some of the electronics might be rather difficult to source in 2012, for example I don't believe they make core memory anymore.

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Stop

Re: AMERICA, F*CK YEAH!

"The ISS is still doing great science and space science has come a long way from the Skylab days. Understanding how to combat the long term effects of space travel is our ticket off this rock pile. But there is a lot of fundamental science being done there as well which could only be achieved in a manned lab."

Really? That's not what New Scientist was saying last month. Check it out.

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Re: AMERICA, F*CK YEAH!

I haven't checked it out but I'm willing to bet that it is the debate about the cost effectiveness of manned space station versus earth based or automated low orbit platforms.

It is a valid discussion, however even if you ignore the benefits of having a large configurable platform with plenty of power for doing space science that you couldn't place economically on a satellite, there is a more fundamental question as to what the long term goal of space exploration is.

As impressive as Curiosity is, at the end of the day it is no more relevant to the human experience than the early moon rovers sent by Russia in the 60's. Far more inspiration was achieved by physically sending men to the moon, however difficult that was, than a million robotic probes. For me it was one of my first memories and inspired me to go into science.

If you, as I, believe that manned exploration must be the end goal of any space program then we need a manned laboratory to develop technologies that make the long term habitation in space feasible. Not only in terms of human physiology, but the equipment and tools for long term exploration.

At the end of the day this only be achieved by having a viable manned orbiting laboratory such as the ISS.

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Re: AMERICA, F*CK YEAH!

At least a little bit of Saturn V tech, the J-2 engine, was to be upgraded to the J-2X under Constellation.

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Black Helicopters

I've worked it out...

"Both satellites were insured, Telkom-3 for 225m rubles ($7.13m, £4.55m) and the Express MD2 for 1.17bn rubles ($37.08m, £23.66m)"

Insurance fraud. It's not like Direct Line can inspect the rockets to make sure the satellites were aboard, is it?

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Thumb Up

Re: I've worked it out...

I like how you are thinking. Appropriate choice in icons.

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Re: I've worked it out...

Soon on eBay: Two satellites, serial numbers unfortunately lost, one careful owner.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I've worked it out...

Seems very cheap for a couple of sats!

I'd have suspected one to cost nearer the high double figures mark.

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More space junk

If you subscribe to the Kessler Syndrome all it would take is the right one or two satellites to break up in orbit and the resulting debris would destroy all of them...and keep us effectively out of space for the rest of our lifetimes.

Thanks China for demonstrating how to pulverize a satellite in space...and thus creating 2,300 new bits of junk.

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Pint

$7m for a satellite?

Seems cheap.

How far up did this space junk get? Low enough to fall down quickly?

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Re: $7m for a satellite?

Probably not up there for very long - the transfer orbit they're stuck in is 165 * 3,118 miles.

It'll be interesting to see why the engine failed, its a hydrazine-fueled number which has almost no moving parts and doesn't need an igniter, so it should be very reliable. Apparently it had to make five firings, it failed on the third.

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Re: $7m for a satellite?

Presumably there's a high pressure pump shoving the hydrazine into the combustion chamber. The high pressure pump systems have always been the most likely point of failure on any chemical rocket engine.

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@Mike Richards was Re: $7m for a satellite?

Nasty stuff hydrazine. Given the chemical nature of the burn, it really doesn't leave much to fail does it. Probably a stuck valve or someone didn't solder the valve activation wire on very well.

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Holmes

Hmmm.....

How are the Information Security Processes at Russian Space Engineering Outfits?

I do hope they are better than the Persians.

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Facepalm

Isn't this and Phobos Grunt Russia's version of the Killdeer's "broken wing" ploy?

“All warfare is based on deception.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

De omnibus dubitandum. Or else we are lost.

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WTF?

Don't get why...

... Indonesia wouldn't buy Russian satellites next time. The rockets failed, not the satellites, which anyway were insured. All they've lost is time.

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FAIL

Hey Russia!

Not only has the United States of America landed on the moon, we've now successfully landed a car on Mars. Suck it. I suspect we'll be building our own spacecraft from here on out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hey Russia!

Good idea, build as many as you can, as Mars is a reasonable place to stockpile your shit american cars.

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Anonymous Coward

Jerks

Can't El Reg somehow get rid of these jerks who think it's still "Good ole US of A versus the big bad ruskie commies"?

There's enough co-operation now that we could realistically have a completely joint space agency. You stupid fuckwits.

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Happy

Re: Jerks

There will always be stupid fuckwits.

If you don't agree, you're one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jerks

Oh there will, I agree. Many millions of them.

I'd just rather they stayed on each others facebook pages instead of places like this.

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Vic
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Re: Jerks

> I'd just rather they stayed on each others facebook pages instead of places like this.

You do know the schools are all out on holiday, right?

Vic.

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"The only thing that the ISS can do for NASA, is study the long term effect of humans in space."

Microgravity maybe.

They're still shielded from most radiation by virtue of zipping around under the van Allen belts, through the top wispy bits of our atmosphere - the drag from that is why it needs a boost from time to time. Without the boost it'd do a Skylab and come down fairly quickly.

If they were orbiting outside the magnetosphere it'd be a real study of long term space exposure.

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