On-board Video Shows Side Booster Hitting Soyuz Rocket Core

Video Caption: The launch ended with an RN accident due to abnormal separation of one of the side blocks (block “D”), which hit the central part of the block (block “A”) in the fuel tank area, which led to its depressurization and, as a result, loss of stabilization of a space rocket. The reason for abnormal separation is the failure to open the lid of the nozzle cover of the oxidizer tank of the “D” block due to the deformation of the sensor of the separation contact sensor (bending to 6˚45 ‘) allowed when assembling the “bag” at the Baikonur cosmodrome. The cause of the RN accident is operational in nature and extends to the groundwork collected in the “package” of the Soyuz type PH

  • Kirk

    Too bad they lost the frames where the damage is done (presumably due to telemetry drop out), resulting the sudden jump at the point where the video shifts from 01:25 to 01:26.

  • nathankoren

    That end should point toward the ground if you want to go to space. If it starts pointing to space you are having a bad problem and you will not go to space today. https://xkcd.com/1133/

  • Jay Jay

    Wow that could have been much worse, the crew were pretty lucky.

  • SamuelRoman13

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/52fe60bb2ff0eb9e6471c25c40fc89e9198ff1e357c3975709c8b24bdd3c4517.jpg .
    Nope. Here is a screen shot of the nose hitting and bending the rod. Something caused the nose to move over and hit the core. It looks like a cable was not released, see the cable?, and jerked the nose into the core. They had better think some more. The sensor was not the problem. I could not quickly find a way to go full screen and take a shot. This will have to do for now. You can view this image by right clicking on it. Or stop start till you get the right frame.

  • Kirk

    ??? Which of the three strap-on boosters (or “carrots”, as the Russians call them) in this frame are _you_ talking about — the one at 9 o’clock, 12 o’clock, or 3 o’clock position? (The 9 o’clock one had the separation issue. Is that the one you are discussing as well?) And what cable? Because no, I don’t see a cable in that frame.

  • SamuelRoman13

    As the image shows the one that hit the core. It looks like a cable between the right and center booster. It may not be and even if it is it may not have any affect at all.

  • Kirk

    The center one, as in the strap-on booster at 12 o’clock in your frame grab? That booster is behaving properly.

    Struts (visible in that frame grab, and what I think you are describing as a cable) are used to connect the lower portion of each booster to the core. The struts (or “power connectors” — “силовых связей”, in Russian) from neighboring boosters lace through each other, with one being a single rod, and the other an double rod similar to the body of a turnbuckle. (That turnbuckle-like structure is clearly visible on the right side of the 12 o’clock booster in the third to last frame before the jump at 1:26.)

    The top of each strap-on booster is secured only by the ball at its tip engaged with a thrust bearing on the center core.

    At separation, the boosters are throttled down and those lower struts are blown with pyros. The thrust alignment of the boosters then cause their base to rotate out, with the upper ball still in contact with its center core thrust bearing. When sensors detect that the boosters have rotated sufficiently (but not so much as to do damage), the engines are shut down fully and the oxygen valve at the top is opened to push the top of the booster away from center core, to avoid recontact as the booster falls away.

    Your frame grab is the first which shows the top and right side boosters separate and start to fall away. But the sensor failed on the left booster, and you can see it continue to rotate (bottom out, top in — opposite of the other two). The moment in which it pierces the center core appears to be among the frames which were dropped from telemetry.

  • Kirk

    You might want to look at this English google translation of a Russian document which details (with lots of photos) the assembly and separation sequence of a Soyuz (or more generally, the R-7 family missiles).

    https://translate.google.ru/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fkik-sssr.ru%2FIP_4_Turatam_old_Razdel_1.htm

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    What an amazing thing to see the Russians still employ carpy video sensors. Amazing to think after all these years of industrial espionage they still can’t close the gap in detector technology. I played with a fair amount of IR and RF equipment from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact back in the 90’s and you’d always look back on the whole system and it kinda felt like this video. Washed out colors, lacking dynamic range. I’ll bet lunch this camera is Russian.

  • SamuelRoman13

    Your right. The video shown here is a normal separation. I can not show it, but if the LOX did not vent, there was not enough thrust to tilt it out to catch air and flip it. The still does show what it would might look like if it was not separation, but the collision. I think they need a backup to the LOX thruster. We will soon be through with them and will not have to worry.

  • SamuelRoman13

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb0874721e8364641e650b6084333e69b57924d4a7b26eb520c9fcdde28b071b.jpg
    The one I showed before is normal sep. Here on the left booster,the nose is sliding down the side after being released. Not reconnect. Slide. Because the air pressure pushing the nose into the core. Maybe something sharp could have caused the damage. Will still have to worry since NASA will still send one of their astronauts on Soyuz. Straight swap. Need a big spring or green thruster to back up LOX thruster. I hope I got the right one this time.

  • SamuelRoman13

    The rod they call a sensor sure is large. It might also mechanically open the LOX valve. So the engine shuts off. There is a little less acceleration and the rod staying still(inertia)the valve runs into the rod and opens. I think it might work that way.

  • SamuelRoman13