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The Military

Experimental Air Force Rocket Launch Fails (theverge.com) 60

schwit1 writes: An experimental Air Force rocket, dubbed Super Strypi, failed seconds after launch. The launch was part of the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space (ORS)-4 mission which aims to test small alternative launch vehicles. The Verge reports: "A small, experimental rocket meant to carry 13 communication satellites into space for the Department of Defense failed just one minute after launching from Hawaii last night, according to the US Air Force. Video footage of the event shows the rocket spiraling out of control as it falls back down to Earth, leaving a crooked contrail in its wake. This was the first flight ever for this kind of vehicle — known as a Super Strypi rocket — as well as the first rocket launch attempt from the Hawaiian Islands."
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Experimental Air Force Rocket Launch Fails

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  • Why a experimental launch carried 13 satellites?
    • by rockout ( 1039072 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @08:08PM (#50867535)

      "meant" to carry.

      I know no one RTFA, but at least RTFS

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sexconker ( 1179573 )

        Failure of the rocket that was "meant to carry 13 communication satellites into space" does not mean that it wasn't carry those 13 communication satellites.
        It means that it did not carry them into space.

        Whether or not it carried them at all is not stated.

      • At least one satellite was lost. It was developed by the University of Hawaii @ Manoa (see this [kitv.com] article).
      • "meant" to carry.

        I know no one RTFA, but at least RTFS

        Oh crap, I RTFA. Most appy lolly gees.

    • Why a experimental launch carried 13 satellites?

      It is designed to carry satellites. It was not carrying any for this launch.

      There is something odd here. The summary contains quite a bit of information that is NOT in TFA. Some of it is just wrong: This is not the first rocket launch from Hawaii. Dozens of USAF rockets have been launched from Hawaii. But other information seems to contradict TFA. The summary says "seconds into the flight" but TFA says "mid-flight".

      • The summary says "seconds into the flight" but TFA says "mid-flight".

        Many hundreds of seconds

      • Experimental rockets often carry payloads, in fact it's better if they do because a) they don't have to carry ballast in order to mimic operational weight and CG, and b) they can partially defray the costs of the development program and launch campaign.

        Not that they charge much, and the payloads are not often insured, so it's usually University and High School and NGO satellites or experiments. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the space was donated.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bughunter ( 10093 )

        Also, TFS should have specified it was the first *orbital* rocket launch from Hawaii.

        (I've launched suborbitals from Barking Sands myself... it's usually used to send missiles towards Kwajalein, either to test an ICBM vehicle, or to launch targets for missile defense tests.)

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Think of the low, low prices on that one time deal per weight and secrecy.
      Or wait for a commercial Russian rocket import that works, has a US private sector costs and has more contractors looking over the project.
    • Space has gotten cheap enough now that it's not incredibly uncommon for High Schools to build cube and micro sats as a project. Most Universities have quite a few cubesats sitting on the shelf that we built as a class project. Many of these will never see space, so if you get a chance to slap it on an experimental rocket, it's better to potentially go down in a blaze of glory than get tossed into the trash in two years to make space for the next class's cubesat build.
  • by bswarm ( 2540294 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @08:12PM (#50867553)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] Shows a heck of a spin during accent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The rocket spins like that during the ascent for stability. When I saw the footage, I thought that it might not be spinning fast enough. This rocket did not have a guidance system. Have a look at a sounding rocket spinning during the ascent:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTfgOYb1Fn8

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, it literally says IN THE VIDEO HE LINKED that it's spin stabilized. For those who don't know, spinning something puts energy into an object without changing the trajectory. More energy means it's harder to change direction. That's why rifled bullets spin.

        • Yea, but this one started precessing wildly at about 0:48.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            That's what I saw too. A slow spin is OK for stability but when it gets too fast it'll start to wobble from a wind gust.
    • And to explain it using a car analogy, it looked like someone forgot to turn off the emergency brake on the left side of the car.

  • by amacbride ( 156394 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @08:25PM (#50867641)

    The rocket was in fact carrying satellites -- a large primary payload (HawaiiSat-1), and a number of small CubeSats.

    http://www.hsfl.hawaii.edu/wor... [hawaii.edu]

    The SuperStrypi is an evolved variant of a spin-stabilized 1960s sounding rocket, so the axial spin is expected, though the anomaly that ultimately doomed the mission was not!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Disclaimer: I helped port some code to run on the system board of one the CubeSats. Let's just say it was a disappointing afternoon....

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Whats going more wrong more often per design? Is the US just always trying new, cheaper, faster build methods or have too many advance skills be lost in some sectors per decade?
      Are the existing fast acceleration profiles even that good for some very hand crafted, bespoke satellite?
      Can the new emerging US private sector do intelligence payloads soon? Getting certification soon?
      A titanium science gap? Or some industrial wide issue for the type of rockets needed? The big nosecone with fast speed and hug
      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        Whats going more wrong more often per design? Is the US just always trying new, cheaper, faster build methods or have too many advance skills be lost in some sectors per decade? Are the existing fast acceleration profiles even that good for some very hand crafted, bespoke satellite?

        New rockets always have a high failure rate. If it's still failing often after the fifth or sixth launch, then it's a problem.

        Can the new emerging US private sector do intelligence payloads soon?

        They've been doing them since oh, 1986 or so. The current launch provider is the United Launch Alliance which operates the Atlas V and Delta IV rocket systems though I believe SpaceX may be close to launching some military payloads on Falcon 9.

        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          re "operates the Atlas V and Delta IV rocket systems" thats more of the builders and US gov setting up a site to work on government space launch services ie they all have the needed paper work going back a while been more a joint venture of existing systems.
          The decrease launch costs, domestic consideration of the Russian RD-180 engine that works well is also a factor.
          It will be interesting to see the new private sector offerings vs the costs of the old but now cheaper rebranded joint venture efforts :)
      • Shove a firecracker up your ass and light it. see how easy it is to survive that.

        rockets are an extremely dangerous method of launching into space. right now it is our only practical method. until we get a single stage to orbit engine(maybe sabre) every new rocket will show us new ways to fail spectacularly.

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @08:32PM (#50867681)

    So they're saying that it....went off the rails?

    No need to get up, I'll see myself out.

  • "An experimental Air Force rocket, dubbed Super Strypi, failed seconds after launch." Everywhere in the article it doesn't list in seconds but "a minute." HEY, ASSHOLES, QUIT WITH YOUR SENSATIONALISM. THIS IS NEWS FOR NERDS NOT GULLIBLE HOUSEWIVES.
    • You'll be dead in seconds. Probably a lot of seconds, but it can definitely be measured in those units.

      • *woosh* They mixed measurements, friend. I recognize they can be converted, my post even included why they did what they did for you. Are you daft?
    • by robi5 ( 1261542 )

      This. It's not even more sensational if it fails after 'seconds' rather than in a minute, so this is probably a routine journo hyperbole, the problem is, as you say, that they write without considering the target audience (i.e. they don't give a shit about them).

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      It did indeed fail in seconds, somewhere between 30 and 35 seconds into the flight if you bother to watch the video. The article should have said "in less than a minute". GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT, ASSHOLE.
  • ...try try again! It often takes many failures to achieve success. Edison experienced many disappointments before who chanced on a practical light bulb design.

  • ...needs more struts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

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