Re: Rockets failures

Jens Lerch (
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 22:49:36 +0000

Vitor Sexto Bernardes wrote:

> I was reading all posts about satellites that were lost because of
> rocket failures and then I was thinking to myself: don't you think
> it's a little strange that all these failures are taking place in a
> so little period of time? Or is it just a coincidence?

Well, I heard a rumour that the launch failures are to revive the
early days of space flight in honor of John Glenn's second flight :-)

The three (or four) launch failures in the last four weeks are one of
the worst series of launch failures in the last decades, but there is
no relation between them.

Lockheed Martin Titan 4A carrying a spysat on August 12:
It pitched off course and exploded 42 seconds into the flight. 
The reason has not been released yet. It was the last flight of a
Titan 4A, so the effect on future launches is minimal.

North Korean Rocket on August 31:
The solid propellant third stage probably failed.

Boeing Delta III carrying Galaxy X on August 27:
The inaugural launch of the Delta III failed 75 into the flight. It's
not uncommon at all that first flights fail. Boeing announced this on
September 5: "The control system recognized and tried to correct a
slow oscillating roll that developed during the first minute of
flight, however, the control system contributed to the situation, and
in the end expended the hydraulic fluid used to gimbal the
thrust-vector controls on the solid rocket motors."

Yuzhnoye Zenit carrying 12 Globalstar on September 9:
system 272 seconds after the launch. The motors on the Zenit rocket
cut out and it fell to Earth." The Zenit is a very unreliable rocket,
having 8 failures out of 31 attempts now. 

There have been also 5 successful launches since August 12: 
Soyuz, Proton, Delta II, Long March 2 and Ariane 44P.

Jens Lerch
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