Patterico's Pontifications


Whoa: Unmanned Rocket Explodes Seconds After Liftoff (Video)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:12 pm

It was taking supplies to the Space Station.

31 Responses to “Whoa: Unmanned Rocket Explodes Seconds After Liftoff (Video)”

  1. That’s compelling video.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. typical American and/or French incompetence

    same dif

    happyfeet (0c73e9)

  3. The straight line

    “Orbital Applauds President Obama’s New Direction For America’s Civil Space Program”

    SarahW (267b14)

  4. It’s almost like nothing the federal government does is working right now.

    David Pittelli (b77425)

  5. I think the White House said the rocket failure was caused by a significant drift of wind caused by climate change.

    Also, they can’t build a new one until we pass new taxes.

    DejectedHead (532aac)

  6. This kind of work is impressive and difficult, but it strikes me as odd that it’s so similar to space travel 50 years ago.

    At the very least, it would be nice if they had perfected it by now, but I don’t think huge chemical rockets lend themselves to perfection. I think NASA really has no reason to exist and we should use its entire budget for X Prizes and contracts.

    Better yet, give 500 square miles of moon land, with mineral rights, to whoever can create a permanent colony there. 2500 miles on Mars. As crazy as that sounds, that could really work out well.

    Dustin (801032)

  7. Whose is it to “give”? I say whoever creates a permanent colony there gets the land. See: John Locke. Goes back to natural property rights.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  8. Maybe that’s the answer for all of us. Pack up and move to the moon.

    DejectedHead (532aac)

  9. I was not expecting a Russian KA-BOOM!

    htom (9b625a)

  10. It looks as if that Muslim outreach is working about as well as expected.

    The link is to Politifact just to be fair.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  11. TFG certainly has the reverse Midas touch about him.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  12. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition another Obama failure. Oh, wait…

    navyvet (edabdc)

  13. Unexpectedly!

    htom (9b625a)

  14. This explosion is a serious and costly matter that puts the international space station in some jeopardy.

    Roughly one-third of the cargo was dedicated to science experiments, among other gear onboard. The NASA blog has a full listing:

    Science investigations: 1,602.8 pounds
    Crew supplies: 1,649 pounds (includes flight crew equipment, food, flight procedures books)
    Vehicle hardware: 1,404.3 pounds
    Spacewalk equipment: 145.5 pounds
    Computer resources: 81.6 pounds

    “There was failure on launch. There was no indicated loss of life,” NASA spokesman Jay Bolden told CNN, though he did say there was “significant property and vehicle damage.”

    Orbital Sciences is one of two companies (the other is SpaceX) NASA is using to haul supplies to the ISS, according to Reuters. This latest flight was its third of eight planned under a $1.9 billion contract with the space agency. “It is far too early to know the details of what happened,” Mr. Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Advanced Programs Group, said in a statement. …As soon as we understand the cause we will begin the necessary work to return to flight to support our customers and the nation’s space program.”

    Prior to the launch Ars Technica blog said:
    The mission, termed Orb-3 by the company, will be delivering 2,300 kg of cargo, including supplies, equipment, and scientific experiments. Those will be carried in the Cygnus spacecraft, which is currently sitting atop an Antares launch vehicle. The second stage of Antares is a solid rocket, and this mission will mark the first use of a larger second stage, which will allow the company to carry more supplies in the future.

    elissa (66f876)

  15. According to CNN the space station crew currently has enough food to last into next year– a Russian Soyeuz rocket will be launched from Kazakhstan shortly, and SpaceX also plans an ISS re-supply launch in late December. Hope they go well.

    elissa (66f876)

  16. A chemical rocket is a slightly controlled explosion. There’s always a chance that your rocket will blow up. You can engineer it for maximum fault tolerance, but it is still an explosion. The fuel and oxidizer are designed to explode on contact with each other (hypergolic). If you read any story of the development of rocket engines and rocket fuels, there are plenty of explosions.

    OmegaPaladin (f4a293)

  17. I think the steady and impressive success and achievement of SpaceX is more indicative of American ability. The difference between now and fifty years ago was that the early efforts had no need for utility or practicality. We will never move into space until we can do it economically and practically. In the history of military and commercial aviation what significant aircraft were designed by the government? It took private industry to make these viable efforts and it will take the same for space. I believe SpaceX will lead again in putting a man rated space capsule into service but I want other private firms to be successful as well. Imagine if we had gone into WW2 with only one aircraft company, and that selected by politicians?

    Yankee ingenuity and innovation can lead the way if government gives proper support and gets out of the way. I find it very disturbing to think of third would nations being ahead of us in exploiting the high ground of space. The cost of our complacency could be very high, as it has been in the past.

    machinist (313c6a)

  18. The failures in the space program were largely a result of such complacency. We made smaller and more sophisticated nuclear warheads so we didn’t need such big boosters to throw them, but men can’t be miniaturized so we all had to lift the same loads into space and the bigger Russian rockets gave them an advantage. Playing catchup is always expensive in lives and treasure.

    machinist (313c6a)

  19. Whose is it to “give”? I say whoever creates a permanent colony there gets the land. See: John Locke. Goes back to natural property rights.

    Patterico (9c670f) — 10/28/2014 @ 7:54 pm

    No disagreement here. My only concern is that the UN claims the moon is off limits, so any colony on the moon would have to be truly independent and protected (Which is unrealistic) or have some kind of legal basis with a government on Earth.

    I could be reading the tea leaves wrong, but I think gaining property rights and using them to fund colonization is how the future will happen.

    Dustin (fd00bd)

  20. It should be noted that the Orbital Sciences Antares rocket first stage is built around two Russian-built rocket engines. At least one of which exploded on launch.

    Orbital and SpaceX are attempting to provide lower-cost launch services to replace the amazingly expensive Boeing-Lockheed alliance. This would have been their 3rd flight to the ISS.

    Kevin M (d91a9f)

  21. 19: Historically, property rights and sovereignty are a mixture of squatters rights and artillery capabilities. The settlers get some deference but if they get greedy someone always reaches for the artillery.

    Kevin M (d91a9f)

  22. Also, while I respect the libertarian sentiment, I doubt very much that TPTB will.

    Kevin M (d91a9f)

  23. Ya gotta love “significant vehicle damage,” though. The thing blew up. It blew itself to smithereens.

    “Sure, it looks bad now, but a little Bondo and feather in the paint, and it’s like new!”

    This is why we opt for the low deductible policies.

    Okay, so NASA just isn’t as good at the whole space-launchy thing as they used to be, but in fairness, they are all over climate change and implementing the diversity and tolerance protocols with dispatch. Granted, the Muslim Outreach Program is running behind as most of the muslim projects seem to end up much like this launch, but they are optimistic that with sufficient funding they can justify another budget increase for next year.

    Estragon (ada867)

  24. John Locke is on much more solid philosophical footing, here. There are no Indians to exterminate. That we know of, anyway.

    nk (dbc370)

  25. That video is the story of the Barack Obama administration in a nutshell.

    creeper (a4cd2f)

  26. Were any parts of that rocket made in China?

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  27. I grew up on Florida’s “space coast” in the 60’s and 70’s. Reminds me of the old days, when rocketry was still kinda new. Every couple of years somebody would compile a number of rocket failures into a two or three minute film (couldn’t call them videos, not of that vintage–!). Saw a few in person from my front yard (we were perhaps 20 miles from Cape Canaveral).

    So, rocket science is still rocket science, not for the average student…

    NeoCon_1 (d30da7)

  28. Were any parts of that rocket made in China?

    No. They were made in the USSR in the 1960’s for the N1 moon rocket that never worked, stored for decades in Siberia, bought by someone in California, not used and stored for another decade, then used by Aerojet to make a big rocket engine for Orbital Sciences.

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  29. Good article in the WaPo:

    Elon Musk, the chief executive of Orbital’s competitor SpaceX, has long warned against using such decades-old technology. Calling it one of the “pretty silly things going on in the market,” he told Wired last year some aerospace firms rely on parts “developed in the 1960s” rather than “better technology.” He called out Orbital Sciences in particular. It “has a contract to resupply the International Space Station, and their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke,” he said. “It uses Russian rocket engines that were made in the ’60s. I don’t mean their design is from the ’60s — I mean they start with engines that were literally made in the ’60s and, like, packed away in Siberia somewhere.”

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  30. Kevin,

    If someone gets to the moon with enough equipment to settle they’ve got plenty of artillery capability already.

    Soronel Haetir (5497c1)

  31. Come on, Smithers! This isn’t brain surgery! It’s

    Patterico (6b7e88)

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