back to article Russian rocket snafu may have just violently dismantled 19 satellites

A Russian weather satellite and 18 micro-satellites are right now thought to be at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean after a Soyuz rocket carrying the birds malfunctioned shortly after launch. The launch of the Soyuz 2-b rocket – the latest addition to Russia's venerable line of boosters – took place at the new Vostochny …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Oh well, just when I commented that the village bus has 97%+ success ratio.

    Nothing to do with Vostochnyi by the look of it - this is a rocket failure. Could have happened from any of the other 3 launch sites (Plesetsk, Baikonur and Guiana)

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Early suggestions are that the Soyuz rocket performed its job and a flight control programming error in the Fregat upper stage (which is used with multiple launch systems) is likely to blame.

      https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/11/28/russian-weather-satellite-and-18-secondary-payloads-feared-lost/

      1. Danny 14

        i reckon they let a kerbal put it together. Or maybe the Kraken got it.

        They should have put more struts on (I dont trust new fangled autoroot).

        1. AndyS

          Does someone really have to mention bloody kerbels every single time any aerospace topic is being discussed?

          Every time someone relates something in the real world to a game, or to fiction, all it does is advertise that they don't have any direct experience or anything to add.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Obligatory xkcd.

          2. cray74

            Does someone really have to mention bloody kerbels every single time any aerospace topic is being discussed?

            There's few better ways to gain a visceral understanding of rocket failures and orbital mechanics than Kerbal Space Program. In this case, staging errors due to incorrect flight controller programming are common in new Kerbal booster design.

            Every time someone relates something in the real world to a game

            Aladdin Sane's XKCD reference is worth a look.

          3. ravenviz

            advertise that they don't have any direct experience or anything to add

            Or just being sociable.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Lovely launch but a bit of a failure on the whole-rockety-delta-v-place-it-gently-in-the-right-place sort of thing. Still, on the plus side nobody died, unless Putin gets really upset and channels his inner-Blofeld.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oversimplifying the simple.

    I would like to think that Register readers can understand this sentence perfectly well:

    "Instead, it fell back to Earth, possibly still carrying its payload, and was destroyed by air friction, with the debris falling safely into the sea, we're told."

    And do not need this sentence to explain it to them "in other words":

    "In other words, it sounds as though the rocket didn't do its job of getting the stuff up into space, and keeping it there."

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Oversimplifying the simple.

      "Instead, it fell back to Earth, possibly still carrying its payload, and was destroyed by air friction, with the debris falling safely into the sea, we're told."

      As a red-blooded Reg reader it would be remiss of me not to also point out that on re-entry from orbit, the heat and mechanical stresses come largely from compression of the air in front of the object rather than friction.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oversimplifying the simple.

      And it wasn't a snafu either; whilst it seems to be afu, it's certainly not sn.

      1. keith_w Bronze badge

        Re: Oversimplifying the simple.

        one hopes it's not an sn

      2. ravenviz
        Mushroom

        Re: Oversimplifying the simple.

        Or, "obviously a major malfunction"

    3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Oversimplifying the simple.

      "You will not go to space today."

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Oversimplifying the simple.

      Maybe this might be better (for some value of better): "What goes up has to come down. In this case, it just came down way too soon."?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly this is just western fake news.

  4. Johnny Canuck

    Kerbal Space Program

    Check yo staging!

  5. TSG
    Mushroom

    Re: Kerbal Space Program

    I believe we call this a RUD: Rapid Unplanned Disassembly.

    Source: I play a bit too much KSP

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Kerbal Space Program

      Not RUD at all, just plain LOOSE: Lack Of Orbital Speed Error

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Kerbal Space Program

        Or just a simple "off by pi" error

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Kerbal Space Program

      I believe we call this a RUD: Rapid Unplanned Disassembly.

      If it was an RUD, where was the kaboom?

      This sounds more like an RUR.

      (That is, Rapid Unscheduled Re-entry, not Rossum's Universal Robots)

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Kerbal Space Program

        with moar boosters they wouldnt have needed to stage. Moar boosters fixes most issues. That and not accelerating physics time during launch.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Kerbal Space Program

          I thought it was a Kaotic ABort Of Orbit Manoeuvre

        2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Moar boosters

          And much strutting

  6. Weiss_von_Nichts
    FAIL

    Obviously this was caused by inferior potassium in the rocket fuel.

    1. CentralCoasty
      Facepalm

      I think I am tired... I read this as a Possum in the rocket fuel......

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Animal fuel additives

        This is the first I have heard of possum power, but NASA did a small scale animal fuel test, presumably to prepare for this.

      2. Mark York 3 Silver badge
        Coat

        I read it as potatoes initially.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Coat

          "It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."

          As the Silastic Armourfiends of Striterax could tell you

          Doffs hat (black fedora again) to the late, great Douglas Adams

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Mushroom

            "It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."

            Well, in addition to the potatoes you need LOX and something closely resembling a V2 to even be able to start thinking about solving problems, and then only a particular category of problems, really. There is also the fact that previous attempts have not shown this to be a viable approach in the long run.

          2. Pedigree-Pete
            Pint

            Watney...

            "It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."

            Oh I don't know, Mark seemed to do alright. PP

  7. macjules Silver badge
    Coat

    Perhaps ..

    ... they could borrow one of Kim's ballistic rockets? Those seem to be working just fine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Those seem to be working just fine"

      Well, if you want them to go up and then land in the sea, then yes. I don't think that was the plan here.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: "Those seem to be working just fine"

        Well, if you want them to go up and then land in the sea, then yes. I don't think that was the plan here.

        There's the problem. Simply redefine the plan as being 'to go up and then land in the sea' and the mission was a roaring success. This used to be SOP for TASS back in the day

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "Those seem to be working just fine"

          Or simply split the launch up into different sub-contractors, each responsible for a different phase.

          Then you can claim 'n' times as many successful launch activities, claim 'n' times as much investment in the local economy and close down the one which fails

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, if you want them to go up and then land in the sea

        But if it was the plan, it worked flawlessly. Most plans do, if you suitably modify the planned objective after the fact.

    2. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: "Those seem to be working just fine"

      Whether Kim's ballistic rockets carry any payload at all is a good guarded secret. The Soyuz is designed to lift some 7000 kg to LEO.

    3. HamsterNet

      Re: Perhaps ..

      But Kims rockets came from Russia, sorry correction an Old Soviet factory located in Ukraine and nothign to do with Russia at all!!

  8. Florida1920
    Angel

    Soyuz 2-b

    Or not to be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Soyuz 2-b

      Alas, poor Florida! I knew him, Horatio; before he was beaten to death by enraged English majors...

      1. Florida1920

        Re: Soyuz 2-b

        Alas, poor Florida! I knew him, Horatio; before he was beaten to death by enraged English majors..

        Once more into the beach, dear micro-sats, once more;

        Or close the wall up with our Soyuz dead.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Soyuz 2-b

        Here's an English Major for you, though he is not normally enraged:

        English Major

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Soyuz 2-b

          Not as good as Major Major Major Major.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Soyuz 2-b

            re: Not as good as Major Major Major Major.

            errr .. badger, badger, badger, badger ....

            1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

              Re: badger, badger, badger, badger

              The lesser known hit by Chas 'n' Dave.

  9. lglethal Silver badge

    "That said, we already have hardware on the International Space Station waiting to launch so there's plenty to be getting on with."

    Wow... How to be completely dismissive of the loss of 10 of your customers hard work and endeavours!?!

    Considering even a microsatellite takes 2-3 years to develop, I'm sure the scientists and engineers who have now lost their work and the opportunities for the scientific data they were hoping to collect are just as sanguine. 2-3 years down the drain, yeah fine whatever...

    Remind me to stay away from that firm in future...

    1. Danny 14

      personally if a customer screwed an already paid project and wanted another i'd be thrilled. Afterall ive already gotten the tooling and notes.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        They will have more than the tooling. They will already have the flight spares.

        In such a risky business as spaceflight a launch failure is already well planned for.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Customer is insured.

      Likely - especially with micro-satellites - they have a lot of spares on hand.

      Hassle, yes.

      Rejigging of a timetable, yes.

      But if you haven't accounted that "big stick of dynamite might go bang" in your business model as a satellite company, then you really don't deserve to be in business anyway. You'd have a number of other satellites, a number of other launch locations, a number of other launch companies, and the insurance to just say "Right, let's launch one from this other place to fill the gap we now have in the schedule, while we clean up the mess".

      Seriously... space travel is still incredibly dangerous. If you haven't factored that in, you're going to go bankrupt very fast.

      Meanwhile, likely the scientists are developing the next lot, testing on the ground units and anything that they do already have launched, etc. In fact, after a while, they'll be twiddling their thumbs and moving on - once the constellation is up - and this has probably just provided another 6 months of employment for most of them.

      You really think there's a room of white lab-coats somewhere crying into their beakers, in ruins? Most likely they just ticked the Excel box that says "Launch: Failed", and moved onto the next one that's already 90% planned out for just such an eventuality.

  10. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Happy

    TITSUP

    Nearly...

    Total Inability To Separate UP

    Total Inability To Separate UPper stage

    Total Inability To Separate Upper Portion

  11. mhenriday

    Launch blunder not the best start for Putin's new spaceport

    Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude, Ian ?...

    Henri

  12. wolfetone

    Maybe North Korea's missle hit it by accident?*

    *still waiting for the tin foil hat icon

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    It's not looking good for Soyuz and the Freigat US in particular.

    Apparently their insurance premiums are quoted at 3x those of Ariane or the Falcon 9.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: It's not looking good for Soyuz and the Freigat US in particular.

      Soyuz is just fine. Fregat is starting to look questionable. Especially given the glaring shortcomings found in the design after a previous failure. Lets hope for Lavochkin they can find a root cause that doesn't make them look bad, because I'm pretty sure the Fregat is done if they screwed the pooch again.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: It's not looking good for Soyuz and the Freigat US in particular.

      Ouch! Ariane have got a long record of mostly not going bang, but SpaceX only have a short record of similar - and the bangs have been more recent. So I'm surprised they're also massively cheaper than Soyuz - which must sting a little. Although I've read the phrase "problems with the Freigat upper stage" an awful lot in the last few years.

  14. JJKing Silver badge
    Coat

    Don't read this. It's too cringeworthy.

    So they tried Putin the satellites into space but only suckseadead in Putin them in the ocean.

    Mine's the one with the bad pun bible I've been Putin in the pocket.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Don't read this. It's too cringeworthy.

      Why are you Russian away so fast?

  15. Dave 32

    I seem to remember a couple of rather spectacular failures with the Ariane, including some seriously botched flight control code, which resulted in a subterranean orbit for the first Ariane 5.

    It used to be, for a new rocket, it was impossible to get affordable flight insurance. This caused a lot of new rockets to be launched with ballast, just to prove the launch vehicle. Of course, there were some amateur satellite makers who would take an uninsured chance for a free launch on such a rocket (and, a few of them had satellites dropped into the Atlantic, too).

    Dave

  16. Pedigree-Pete
    FAIL

    Safely into the sea.

    "debris falling safely into the sea, we're told."

    Not safe if you happen to be a resident of said sea... PP

  17. JohnG Silver badge

    After one of the previous cock-ups, Putin said something along the lines that if there were any more cock-ups, the entire Russian space sector would be made part of the military (again). I wonder if the chaps at ROSCOSMOS are getting measured for uniforms.

  18. YARR

    Those Russian Cosmodromes are a long way from the equator, which must make satellite launches needlessly expensive. If this rocket went down over the Atlantic, then it travelled half way around the Earth, so we should be thankful it didn't come down anywhere populated.

    Are there rules allowing the rocket host to inspect the commercial satellites they carry? What if a malfunctioning satellite caused this by activating early and interfering with the electronics of the launch rocket?

  19. Captain Obvious

    This isd day

    I don't care who you are, where you are from, etc. I wish everyone success in getting us into space. Hopefully Russia will quickly figure out what went wrong so this is not repeated. EVERYONE has had at least one catastrophe when launching rockets as this is "rocket science"!!!

    I just wish the world would unite, stop all wars, and all that money in defense saved could be spent on colonizing other planets. As more machines do the work here, putting people on other planets removes idle hands on this planet and gives everyone full employment. THAT is the only next industry that will save us as there really is no new field to get into. Plus, if one is kept busy and has a purpose, it reduces the influence from religious nutjobs.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The rocket worked as expected

    Unfortunately it landed on the wrong planet.

  21. Booty003

    "The thing isn't where it's supposed to be at all, which isn't a particularly good sign."

    And

    "not possible to establish a connection due to its absence in the target orbit....."

    That's me done for the day, not many lols left.....

  22. Ruddock

    @Lee D

    "...and we'll get to use /my/ cut of the BSW!"

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