Smack on the wrist then!
Sounds like someone's due for an extended holiday down the salt mines!
The European Space Agency's (ESA's) embarrassment at having two of its Galileo satnav birds land in the wrong orbit has been blamed on bad programming of the Soyuz craft that hauled the satellites aloft. Russia's Izviestia reports that an investigation of the incident found that the Soyuz's first stage did all that was asked …
Surly their reply to the question "How did the programming go wrong", will be "well, it's a kind of magic"..
Mind you they must be under pressure at the moment. Perhaps they'll look to fat bottomed girls, after all, if they can make the rocking world go round what can they do for a satellite?
So, there you go, proof positive that El Reg headline writers have more skill than me!
I read a comment yesterday (possibly here?) saying that from the orbit it looked like the final stage had burned perfectly, but in the wrong direction, which is a plausible error to make.
The trouble is, to get back into the correct orbit they're now going to need twice the delta-v of the final stage, or some fancy orbit shenanigans.
This is where I'd put my money. It had already crossed my mind that sabotage was involved what with the US being so vocally vehemently opposed to the Galileo project and Russia being direct competitors to Europe with their present Glonass upgrade programme. The ESA brought the Galileo completion date forward just to beat Russia (and others) to the lion's share of the predicated billions from commercial users of the more accurate location systems.
The fact that Russia and Europe are on the brink of war just makes it stranger still that the ESA went ahead with using Soyuz instead of Ariane.
Anyway it's a very stupid decision by ESA to use Russian rockets to lift this kind of very valuable satellites instead of its own Ariane.
And Putin is the type og guy who can play any dirty trick if he sees any advantage. Delaying Galileo deployment can be one.
Remember positioning systems has not only a commercial value....
I think that whatever the cause between the two does not matter.
What does matter is that there was insufficient oversight to detect and correct the problem.
Okay, this is rocket science, but we're not talking about an exploded rocket, we're talking about a string of errors that are purely due to bureaucratic incompetence. That somebody made a mistake is understandable, that nobody caught the mistake and flagged it for correction is not. One does not just go and upload flight parameters for a multi-million-dollar satellite without double-checking, then triple-checking said parameters. And the checking is not supposed to be done by the same person !
Come on, ESA, you've done better than this already. Call SES if you need some pointers on how to manage a fleet of satellites - they've been doing it right for more than a decade now.
Sounds like it was lemming programming, rather than validating the config inputs against what was expected to happen and what it was doing was correct.
If the burn was the wrong way, why not an if on burn my altitude is going down/then stop the burn and ask for help/else burn on....
Of course it could be that under sanctions countermeasures, Russia is only allowed to program within a smaller accuracy limit, so the target distance could fall within the plus - or in this case minus - tolerance of the project. It's about a 10% variance so still OK for Government work.........
I recall that when Hubble was launched, it was "short sighted" due to an incorrect calculation. NASA then had to do a repair to make it usable.
These can happen to anyone, it was just that the NASA woopsie was in-house. Of course back then the Shuttle was still operational so they could go and fix it. If it happened now (James Webb Space Telescope beware) then NASA woudl be equally stuffed.
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