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Space Science Technology

India's Workhorse Rocket Fails For the First Time In Decades (theverge.com) 78

India's premier rocket, known as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, failed to put a navigation satellite into orbit earlier this morning, after some unknown malfunction prevented the satellite from leaving the vehicle. The Verge reports: The rocket successfully took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in southeastern India at 9:30AM ET. About a little over 10 minutes into the flight, however, the rocket seemed to be in a lower altitude than it need to be. A host during the live broadcast of the launch noted that there was a "variation" in the rocket's performance. Later, an official with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) confirmed that the payload fairing -- the cone-like structure that surrounds the satellite on the top of the rocket -- failed to separate and expose the satellite to space. So the satellite was effectively trapped inside the fairing and could not be deployed into orbit. It seems possible that the rocket's low trajectory had to do with the fact that the fairing didn't separate, making the vehicle heavier than it was supposed to be.

It's an unexpected failure for a fairly reliable rocket. Over the last 24 years, the PSLV has flown 41 times and has only suffered two failures in its launch history -- the most recent mishap occurring during a mission in 1997. However, that mission was not a total loss as the satellite it carried was still able to make it to orbit. This was the first total failure of the rocket to happen since the PSLV's very first failure in 1993.

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India's Workhorse Rocket Fails For the First Time In Decades

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  • by johnjones ( 14274 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @02:07AM (#55121043) Homepage Journal

    it was IRNSS-1H that was lost and so Space based Navigation System and Disaster Management Support will be reduced

    anyone know of a good IRNSS receiver ?

    regards

    John Jones

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Now it is 3 failures in 42 flights = 7% failure rate, or 1 in 14. Even the disastrous US Space Shuttles only had a 1.5% flight failure rate.

      So these rockets are maybe not quite man rated, unless of course you have a large and redundant population to draw on...

      • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

        Partial failures don't really count if they put the payload in a good enough orbit. The partial failure didn't put IRS-1D in the correct orbit, but it got it close enough that it could be corrected. So it's more like two full failures in 42 launches, 4.7% failure rate.

        If you do want to count partial failures, then the shuttle failure rate is much higher than 1.5%. STS-1 suffered an overpressure event that caused damage to the vehicle (bent struts), STS-51-F suffered an in-flight main engine failure that cau

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @02:24AM (#55121083) Journal

    another failing satellite. Evidently some of the atomic clocks on the Indian equivalent to the U.S.'s GPS system are failing thus preventing their system from becoming functional. This will probably seriously further delay their system.

    I believe that the system was limited (not for global use) to begin with, it was only meant to provide coverage for their part of the world (South Asia). Unfortunately this does not look good in comparison to the U.S., Russian, European and of course Chinese global systems. I have heard that the European system has also had problems, do they share the same vendor for their clocks? (I'm not sure but I heard the Indians outsourced their atomic clocks to a Swiss company?)

    • I believe that the system was limited (not for global use) to begin with, it was only meant to provide coverage for their part of the world (South Asia).
      That does not sound very plausible, it would require quite obscure orbits and sets of satellites. And it would mean that indian ships require to have multiple positioning systems.

    • by Whibla ( 210729 )

      ... the Indian equivalent to the U.S.'s GPS system are failing thus preventing their system from becoming functional. This will probably seriously further delay their system.

      I believe that the system was limited (not for global use) to begin with, it was only meant to provide coverage for their part of the world (South Asia). Unfortunately this does not look good in comparison to the U.S. ... systems. I have heard that the European system has also had problems ...

      I smell a conspiracy!!!

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @07:39AM (#55121795)

      do they share the same vendor for their clocks?

      Yes. Both IRNSS and GALILEO use SpectraTime (a Swiss company) as the supplier of clocks.

      GALILEO has suffered from 9 clock failures, but no more than 2 in any single satellite so they are still 100% operational ... for now.
      IRNSS has suffered from 5 clock failures, but 3 were in the same satellite rendering satellite 1A unusable.

  • This is why I only use Rockomax Brand(TM) Decouplers! At twice the size of the next leading brand, they offer plenty of bang for your buck! And they come with handy arrows to indicate which side it will detach from.

    Why do I have to use full size TM instead of the superscript in this day and age, oh Slashdot?

  • It will make no difference though to the more than 600 million Indian citizens who lack such basic facilities as running water, electricity and water - the Indian government, time and again, far more keen on engaging in international me-too, pissing contests than in tackling such mundane issues.
    • Have you been to India? Or do you just gobble up whatever your biased western media tells you?
      Everyone here automatically makes this lame argument/joke without knowing the reality. Do you have actual statistics about this? Can you cite a study?
      Are you aware of the awareness campaigns and efforts taken by the current Indian government to combat this? Did you know of a case where there was a divorce awarded to a women because her husband's family didn't have a toilet at home (only an outside one)?

      Change does

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      I think you're using out of date figures there, this year that number is down to around 250 million.

  • It's an unexpected failure for a fairly reliable rocket.

    Over the last 24 years, the PSLV has flown 41 times and has only suffered two failures in its launch history — the most recent mishap occurring during a mission in 1997.

    This is about the same failure rate the Feynman estimated for the space shuttle—and that one had human cargo.

    Engineers at Rocketdyne, the manufacturer, estimate the total probability [of catastrophic failure] as 1/10,000.

    Engineers at Marshal estimate it as 1/300, while NASA

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