The accident "Progress": Chronicle, materiel and version

April 28 to the ISS was launched "Progress M-27M". It was the start of 150 "progress" and 59 supply the ISS mission. Start and first few minutes of the flight went well, and the ship was launched, but reports of successful breeding quickly replaced the news about problems on board. The number and severity of problems called growing up, and, a day later, it became clear that the ship is lost permanently. Currently, the "Progress" with shrunken batteries, spinning uncontrollably, gradually decelerated by Earth's atmosphere, and, according to recent data, will descend from orbit 7-11 May. Not yet released official results of the investigation, it is time to restore the chronology of events to understand the technology and try to analyze the possible versions of the accident.

Timeline h4> Chronology tells no posleznaniya to demonstrate how changing the perception of news and events.

"Progress M-27M" launched April 28, 2015 at 10:09:50 (hereinafter all Moscow time):

After nine minutes straight broadcast TsENKI passed the message on the successful launch of the ship and its separation from the third stage of the launch vehicle. News Agency published on duty reports of successful breeding, and moved on to other current news.

Those who watched the broadcast NASA-TV , could see that on the screen for a few minutes MCC Show the automatic docking system "Course". Also, according to the speaker, the PMU expected confirmation by telemetry antennas and disclosure of solar ship. Five minutes later it was reported that the solar panels successfully opened, but still there is no confirmation of disclosure antennas. "Progress" went out of sight of land settlements. After about half an hour, NASA TV reported no confirmation disclosure of all antennas "course" and, therefore, instead of a six-hour circuit docking with the ISS ship moved to a two-night.

10:35 The agency "Interfax» reported the absence of telemetry, at 10:42 TASS opublikovalo news about the transition to a two-day circuit connections. 10:54 "Interfax» said about "breeding at 30 km above the desired orbit." All of this information was based on the data that MCC had obtained after separation - "Progress" was supposed to be in sight in the area 11:30.

At 11:40 came the first public data about the orbit of "progress" from NORAD:

40619 / 2015-024A: 127x251 km, 51.6 °
40620 / 2015-024B: 123x306 km, 51.7 ° blockquote> The data were, frankly, frightening. Orbital characteristics very different from staff 193 (± 2) h238 (± 5) km. Also, with 127 km pericenter "Progress" could "bury" the atmosphere after a few turns.

11:47 In the area there was a picture of the "course" is shown in the MCC and rebroadcast the NASA-TV:

The appearance of the image perceived as a successful way of "progress" in the relationship, and it was relayed by news agencies.

At 12:44 there was a marvelous news about the "non-synchronized operation of the engine of the third stage." What's wrong with what should have been synchronized, the journalists did not want to tell, however, after some time, the news was added more or less clear explanation, of course, unrelated to whatever was timing.

In the area of ​​13 hours including the broadcasting of MCC, which has been shown other orbital parameters:

An unmatched even more confusing picture. What's orbit right? And the other problem? Do telemetry? Reveal whether the antenna? Especially since transferred Tass message that MCC has no information on the non-disclosure of antennas.

At 13:30, when the "Progress" was on the third round, there was no telemetry information from the board.

The fourth coil near 14:50 on NASA-TV broadcast a picture from the camera appeared "Kurs" (before that it is likely to have been switched off, which explains the black background on the dayside orbit), where it was clear that the ship rotates yaw and pitch at the same time:

In addition, the commentator said about the numerous failures angular rate sensors and that the PMU transferred to board the team attempts to maintain the ban on the orientation in space (obviously, that the control system could not unleash the ship even more due to incorrect operation of sensors, control systems or motors) .

Later NASA-TV reported that at the end of the fourth connection portion of the Satellite Control Center in Moscow gave the team aboard the ship to stop the rotation. Also, due to the fact that the maneuver of rapprochement with the ISS could not be implemented in time for the docking of the two-day scheme was abolished.

On the fifth turn of the transfer of any team or get a full telemetry failed. "Progress" went to the "deaf coils" and communicate with them could only be established on April 29.

Evening of April 28 NORAD confirmed its initial orbit data "progress" with a perigee of 120 km. What has not climbed in any gate, because with such a low perigee of the ship can not survive more than a few turns. However, the night of April 29 came the correction data with normal perigee of 180 km. One mystery was less.

The first session on April 29 was to be held at 03:50. At five in the morning it message Tass that the attempt was unsuccessful. The second session in the morning and five ended in failure. The press reported the possible reduction of the ship from orbit. How this could be done with apparently unmanageable ship remains a mystery. Some small scandal is the story with a copy of the Victory Banner, which obviously will not be able to get to the ISS, however, as it turned out, she was delivered to the ISS in March with the "Union." Also, during the April 29 came the news of the possible attempts to hand control of "progress" with the ISS system teleoperator radio TORU.

Day April 29 has passed information that attempts to contact the ship will no longer be.

Also on April 29 appeared information detected 44 fragments of unknown origin near the "progress". A ham radio R4UAB (Dmitry Pashkov) recorded work onboard radio "Quantum-In." This system is used to send commands to the board and to obtain land of telemetry data.

And finally, in the evening on April 29 held a press conference the Russian Space Agency, which sounded new data and recognized the loss of the ship.

May 1 to the ISS astronauts photographed flying two hundred kilometers below the "Progress" to try to visually identify the damage. Unfortunately, in spite of the telephoto, the picture turned out not enough informative:

As of the evening of May 4 the ship actively losing altitude:

It seems that the ship will burn in the atmosphere earlier than expected, in the region of 8 May.

Facts h4> At a press conference the Russian Space Agency were announced following facts:

  • Start the flight of the ship to the land separated from the third stage was held nominally;
  • For 1, 5 seconds before the estimated time of separation disappeared telemetric information;
  • It was subsequently established that the separation of "progress" from the third stage took place in a timely manner;
  • The efficiency of telemetry has been partially restored. As a result, it became known that part of the units operating in abnormal mode;
  • The ship is rotating at a speed of around 90 ° per second;
  • The ship has apocentre about 30 km above the calculated orbit, the stage - about the same below.
  • The fuel system is leaking;
  • Observed failures of individual components and assemblies of the ship;
  • Secure docked with the ISS is not possible;
  • Threats to the ISS is no.
     In addition, based on open sources and unofficial information by people working in the industry, it was found:

    Data decryption "Course»:

    Screen «Course» appears immediately after the launch, the first coil (upper right screen MCC). Almost certainly mark is visible at the bottom of the accident, but the screen is shown from far and too short a time to draw any confident conclusions. But second coil periodic disturbance in the picture says that with 95% probability the ship to rotate about the same as the fourth coil, the angular speed.

    The first three of the spacecraft orbit. The yellow marked line of sight of ground control points:

    Materiel h4>

    Корабль "Progress» . Taking into account all the modifications, it was the one hundred and fiftieth start. A crash with the loss of the ship just a second. The first case occurred in 2011, when the "Progress M-12M" was not put into orbit due to the failure of the third stage carrier rocket "Soyuz-U».

    On the ship, there are five antenna systems "course»:

    The camera "eye" which we have seen the rotation is located at the bottom of a ship similar to the periscope "Union." In the photo marked with an arrow:

    Ie from the perspective of the ship, he rotated clockwise.
    Video preparation for the launch of a wrecked ship:

    Ракета "Soyuz-2.1a» . In contrast to the "progress", the missile is relatively new. Is the development of "Soyuz-U". First flew in 2004. Modifications 2.1a and CT-A (version Kourou) carried out 22 flight, all modifications - 46 flights. During the operation there were two accident caused by the booster and one accident modification 2.1b due to abnormal operation of the engine of the third stage. Accident because of failure of the third stage has not been modified 2.1a.
    The third stage of various modifications "of the Union»:

    The third stage, another scheme:

    Modifications of the third stage differ mainly engine. On 2.1a is used for a long time, reliable and mastered RD-0110, and 2.1b - a new, with improved performance, the RD-0124.


    Separation Shortly before the ship enters the preset orbit, the third stage engine shutdown process begins. Rocket engine can not be shut down immediately, it has a so-called "Aftereffect impulse", which adds a bit of speed and control system is taken into account. Once the engine is turned off, triggered pirozamki that separate craft from the third stage. Pirozamok - a lock that opens when triggered squib. In this case, unlike the discontinuous bolts less shake ship. After separation of the ship, the third stage opens the drain valve oxidizer tank and goes toward his remaining pressure. The process of separation is clearly visible on the video launch of the satellite «Sentinel-1A» in Kourou. Booster - "Soyuz ST-A", in fact, 2.1a with modifications to Kourou.

    Version accident h4>

    Version 1. The destruction of the fuel tank of the third stage. B> The most likely option. The upper part of the stage collapses, debris whipped service module, "Progress", disabling the fuel lines, antennas and other units. Excessive pressure drops back stage, and the ship, respectively, forward, whereby the ship is above its orbit, and below the stage. The destruction of the stage disables its telemetry unit or antenna (they are located at the top of stairs), which explains the loss of telemetry. Rotation of the ship can be explained by the expiry of uneven fuel from punctured fuel.

    Problem It is necessary to find the cause of the destruction of the tank. At the end of the stage where there is little fuel, it reduces the load on the bottom wall of the tank, but may increase the vibration. Why not tank collapsed in the first seconds of the flight? Also, the stock and the gas pressure in the tank can not physically be enough to change the orbit level and vehicle for every 30 km.

    subversion. Sabotage A bomb planted by saboteurs perfectly explains the "why" stage exploded, but creates a much more difficult question - "why"? Start at a very high risk (need to put a bomb quickly, then it can detect in tests) in order to blow up the cans, water tanks, wet wipes and pajamas for civilian astronauts? In my opinion it is absurd.

    Version 2. The destruction of the engine The presence of the turbopump unit, which operates under load, can logically explain the explosion with the formation of dangerous splinters. It is also possible incorrect closing of valves, resulting in burnout may occur or explosion not only in the turbopump unit, and in the combustion chamber.
    Problem Why the ship and stage scattered in different directions? If splinters flew from the bottom of the stage, it would be logical to assume, or even directed largely down the outflow of gases from the tanks, which is inconsistent with the observed picture. Also, the process of switching off the wrong engine had to get on the telemetry before her disappearance.

    Version 3. Early separation Suppose the separation process somehow started when the engine is running even. In this case, the ship received a boost, "jumped" over the stage, and then the stage caught up with the ship and crashed into him, hesitated service module.
    Problem It must have been evident in telemetry. The process is relatively slow, it may take several seconds, and just have to get on the telemetry.

    Version 4. The destruction of the instrument compartment "Progress» It explains a vehicle's problem, but it has fundamental flaws:

  • Before the branch of "Progress" conditionally "sleeping", he did not nadduty fuel tanks, which explode?

Why the explosion at the "progress" switched off the telemetry on stage? Get serious and dangerous pieces of the ship is much more difficult.

Version 5. Violation of separation procedure Imagine that the "Progress" is only partially separated, hanging on one or more locks. It began draining stage began to spin a bunch. Centrifugal force has broken locks, ship and flew to the side stage, power division damaged service module "Progress».
The process is very slow, must get on telemetry. Not the fact that the pressure in the oxidizer tank is enough for promotion severe ligament. The difference orbit requires that the rupture occurred when the ship is strictly front and stage - behind that rotation is not very likely. to break the lock does not necessarily mean damage to the instrument compartment.

Conclusion h4> The Commission of Inquiry shall present the results of the accident until May 13. Hopefully, the reason for the accident is detected, and in the future this type of accident will not be.

Do not think for cynicism or sarcasm, but that this accident occurred, there is a good side. The rocket "Soyuz-2.1a" is relatively new, and it ever peresyadut manned "Soyuz". Imagine that such an accident will happen with human beings. The cosmonauts will have to urgently explore what happens, eliminate starting rotation to determine lost and the remaining resources. Urgent sit? But the landing is in the South Pacific, it means ditching and expectation of salvation for hours and days. Wait at least one turn? But fuel is leaking, if it's all going to end? And if the engine trouble? How to slow down and sit down? And on many days waiting for a natural inhibition may not have electricity or oxygen. In any case, it turns out terrible picture. And not the fact that from such alteration at all possible to get out alive. And now, and developers, and production workers will investigate, and it is hoped that such a terrible danger would no longer threaten anyone.

List of references h4> In addition to the text used as a reference:

Forum topic magazine "News of Cosmonautics". The magazine is now in an extremely difficult situation, you can its support , buying back issues electronically. The old numbers are no less interesting from time to time. page "Progress M-27M» on Online Anatoly Zak. forecast for a drop ship site Spaceflight 101. Dry information "Progress» from Alexander Moskalenko. a href=""> page ship site MCC.
 In the tag «космические scene » - other accidents and disasters that have occurred or not.



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