"Search and rescue teams report they are in contact with the Soyuz crew, who report they are in good condition. The teams are en route to the landing site."
"You can be sure Soyuz launches will be grounded indefinitely. Commercial Crew has to conduct a successful uncrewed launch next year before flying astronauts to the ISS (and no - they will not 'fast track' anything that involves crew safety)."
I imagine you are happily doing 3, maybe 4 G's, then an alarm sounds and suddenly the escape system (or mission control, your the commander) decides you are not going to space after all, adds 10 G's or so to what you are already doing for a couple seconds, then a couple seconds of free fall until the parachutes open, then the final kick when you are about to land.
They had a very bad day.
At least it's not a very long time inside a Soyuz. I don't think I fit inside one.
That's a much gentler experience, provided the booster doesn't explode.
After landing safely (and being badly bruised), they asked for cigarettes and were given shots of Vodka. 
"A few hundred miles."
It's the beginning of a very very small, exclusive club, one that will hopefully not be too big.
The other Soyuz incident in 1983 was Soyuz 7K-ST No.16L, sometimes known as Soyuz T-10a or T-10-1.
Found below from wiki.
It was an unsuccessful Soyuz mission intended to visit the Salyut 7 space station, which was occupied by the Soyuz T-9 crew. However, it never finished its launch countdown; the launch vehicle was destroyed on the launch pad by fire on September 26, 1983. The launch escape system of the Soyuz spacecraft fired two seconds before the launch vehicle exploded, saving the crew. It is the first case in which a launch escape system has been fired with a crew aboard.
In early US space program, in one of the test flights before Apollo program, a 2 stage rocket failed mid flight. The rocket escape system attached on top of the capsule fired and successfully saved the capsule. But there was no crew in the capsule.
Just watched this PBS special on the US space program. Pretty interesting footage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jia78xRMTEc
There have been some other, less consequential manned launch failures.
Apollo 12 was struck by lightning during ascent, and only some quick thinking saved the mission.
Apollo 13 suffered extreme vibration in the second stage center engine that nearly tore the rocket apart. (This is unrelated to the more famous problem Apollo 13 experienced later in the mission.) Fortunately the vibrations messed with sensors which caused the engine to shut down, and the launch continued on the remaining four.
STS-51-F lost an engine a few minutes after launch. It was still able to make orbit on the remaining engines, but ended up in a lower orbit than planned.
With space launch systems, any use of escape system is dangerous and best to avoid. I think it will be a long time before aborting/escaping from botched space launch and recovery will be as routine as aborted takeoffs and go arounds.
The probability for commercial airliners is something around 1 in 100 million.
It is better to be on the ground wishing that you were in orbit, than to be in orbit wishing that you were on the ground.
For example, Progress ship (very close in design to Soyuz ship, unmanned ship to deliver supplies, not recoverable) failed less than 2 years ago due to launcher failure.
Sure, in _very_ rare case engines might not shut down or something else might get broken, but "If the booster had exploded, the crew would have been in extreme danger." seems too over the top. Launch escape tower is jettisoned for a reason ...
The Soyuz launch abort system is actually quite robust probably the best launch abort system that has been implemented for manned flight so far with the Orion and Crew Dragon only marginally improving on it and even that is still not clear given those haven’t been flown yet alone actually used in practice yet.
Smaller Dracos are used for in-orbit maneuvering. SuperDracos are now solely for launch abort. They could conceivably be used for an orbital maneuver requiring more delta-v than the fine-tuning the Dracos do, but at this point the only likely destination for Dragon is the ISS.
Also, the engines are designed for use in space during a normal mission and to be recovered. So in that configuration the crew would still need to be located close to a hydrazine thruster as a part of a normal flight.
There's eight for redundancy, it's a fault-tolerant system.
What? They have their own Soyuz capsule, they have means to return to Earth on a very short notice, why Chris need to call it this?
It's a bad situation to be in. The end of ISS is certainly an option. I don't think they'll ever let astronauts stay there with an expired return vehicle.
Assuming that an investigation takes a year, that means a lot of missed flights and no way to reach the ISS until Boeing/SpaceX are ready.
This is what I figured / assumed but I didn't want to act like I actually knew as basically everything I'm saying is an assumption. Thank you!
One Soyoz has a hole. The other Soyuzes won't run because safety. You scrapped the shuttle a few years ago. You haven't finished assembling your SpaceX project car yet. Little Jimmy is going to have to hold the flashlight for daddy while he fixes a shitbox so mommy can get to work in the morning (metaphorically speaking of course, because space).
Who is little jimmy or daddy in this analogy? Why can’t mommy fix her own car? I don’t see the connection to human spaceflight.
I was going to say... It might not be flashy and shiny and new but what else is really important when you are doing space travel? Personally I'd rather have the indestructable, boxy, non-aerodynamic 1995 Jeep Cherokee and its inline V6 engine than some brand new "2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 I4 Engine with Electronic Stop/Start (ESS) Technology".
All of those adjectives / descriptors after the "2.4L" look and sound nice but beside looking fancy is there any merit to them being added? Most people in and around the Jeep car scene / motor heads / people with decent car knowledge KNOW that Jeep's Inline V6 was nearly indestructible. They lasted forever when properly maintained (regular oil changes, fluid changes, and tune ups) and could take loads of abuse. Most other things in and on the car would wear out and/or burn out (things like electronics) before the engine and transmission would even become an issue at all.
That said, in 2018, there are lots of reasons a 1995 Jeep Cherokee isn't the ideal car. Namely gas mileage, lack of aerodynamics, weight and weight distribution (materials and generally being overweight), and so on. Even knowing all of that I'm sure if paying for gas wasn't a major issue lots of people who had Jeep Cherokees in the past would love to have a properly running one again for one simple reason:
Reliability and dependability. What else really matters? I'd definitely trade in the offset in cost at purchase time for a gas guzzler if the cost winds up the same or the scale even tilts toward the Jeep if you consider all of the upkeep and maintenance costs included, after purchase, for another vehicle.
The Soyuz, if nothing else, is extremely reliable. If I were an astronaut that's the main thing I'd be worried about and if I had any say it'd be the one thing I absolutely required -- for obvious reasons.
A lot of research that will have to be postponed or scrapped :(
Of course there is still a Soyuz attached to the Space Station and it can return the crew, but that that would leave the station unmanned. Not something it is really designed for as I understand it. And even before that drastic call is made we can still send supplies up so it isn't like they would be in danger of running out of stuff.
Personally I'm very impressed with the reliability of the Soyuz system. Still I would love to have Boeing and SpaceX get certified sooner rather than later.
SpaceX probably can't create a simulation in a few months to not need in-flight abort test because developing a simulation that NASA would consider "proof" probably takes years.
NASA has indicated today they are not going to rush commercial crew , to not press SpaceX and Boeing into go-fever which NASA has learned is very dangerous.
Because the timing of SpaceX DM-1 (uncrewed demo flight of crewed Dragon 2) depends on ISS visiting vehicle schedule, it might move to the left if visiting vehicle schedule gets reshuffled.
NASA has indicated in today's briefing that crew must be present on station to oversee commercial crew tests , so if ISS is de-crewed in December, SpaceX DM-1 can't go in January as scheduled.
SpaceX has the benefit of having a bunch of pre-flown rockets lying around. It may be cheaper to refurbish and do a real in-flight abort test than create a suitable simulation.
I was surprised to learn that the abort was performed manually by the Cosmonaut and that it happened after the escape tower had been jettison. They apparently used the "RUS" system that is using thrusters on the fairing.
Maybe we don't have the space program of our dreams. But we've certainly accomplished the goal of having "routine" operations in space over a long period of time. How much have humans learned in that time!
Everyone loves the idea of humans in space, but we learn so much more from robots and computers it makes the manned programs such a waste...
Next, we'll have real-life gritty action heroes who admit to "making it up as I go along?" (Actually, that was Neil Armstrong when we manually piloted the first lunar landing.)
Soyuz-FG is planned to be replaced with modified version of the rocket, Soyuz-2. Soyuz-2 is already used for launches of unmanned supply ship, Progress. Yes, I know, a lot of similar names makes things confusing.
The next scheduled Soyuz launch is Progress 71P on October 31st. I'm curious if that's going to happen, considering crewed and cargo use the same launch vehicle.
There's also 3 more (unmanned) flights scheduled for Soyuz in November (MetOp C, Glonass M and EgyptSat-A) - so there might be pressure to find/"solve" the problem as quickly as possible.
The next human flight is scheduled for December 20th (ISS 57S).
Maybe there is a new person on the assembly line that doesn't know not to pinch o-rings when assembling fuel tubing? Maybe a swaging tool has worn out to the point that it is causing leaks? Maybe the vendor who supplies body panel rivets got a bad batch of aluminum? There are so may possible situations that it is not worth risking launches or lives over until a root cause has been found.
The problem there is with manufacturing and quality control. They've had endless problems with other recent rockets and it's natural to think their qualty problems hit this time. Spaceflight is one of the few area where the us and Russia are cooperating and I hope this isn't the end. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/07/10/200775748...
But with recent events around Soyuz I'd be slightly hesitant there as well. A year ago I would have fully agreed with you, but the infamous drilled hole, now this - I'd at least wait for the investigation to return a reason of failure to be able to determine whether I'd feel safe. If it's again human error during construction, I probably wouldn't get on board.
Soyuz 2 is a new generation booster that has a pretty bad track record due to the quality control issues. Soyuz-FG is old generation booster that had a perfect track record until now.
They aren't "holding back" SpaceX, the validation, testing, and scheduling mostly has little to do with others, and more to do with validating SpaceX alone.
You are right though that scheduling might let this move up a bit.
Plus I also don't see the Trump administration asking China for help anytime soon...
That being said, I agree that it's not going to happen. First, Tianzhou is currently cargo-only, for which there are enough alternatives. Second, the US is close to getting back their own human access to space (through Boeing and SpaceX), and that would probably be ready before sufficient restructuring & testing on Tianzhou is completed.
Edit: Shenzhou is the human rated version of Tianzhou, so the main question would be whether it can dock with the ISS. (There's not just the dock itself that has to fit, but there's additional limitation on what kind of maneuverability system can be used close to the ISS). Also, the next Shenzhou flight was originally scheduled for 2018 and got delayed to 2020 - so this is highly unlikely going to be an option (No Mark-Watney-style rescue is required unless the docked Soyuz modules are 'grounded' as well)
UPD Crew photos:
Lucky to be alive after such an incident.
Unlucky to have gotten on top of a Soyuz rocket system that failed, when it's been proven to be so incredibly reliable all these years.
I'm reminded a bit of the moment when I learned that the action movie heroes are just actors.
I'd love to hear from a SpaceX engineer if their webcasts indeed shows live telemetry (speed / altitude) or not. Also SpaceX's webcasts illustrations looks like they run in a game engine which is both cheap and highly customizable with input data.
I also agree with your sentiment that the movie removes a bit of the scientific aspect.
Insert here a good 30 minutes spent on watching launch footage and writing down numbers
Ok, at this point I'm deep in looking at launch footage, and I'm more disappointed by the Soyuz launch footage. Whilst it's possible that they followed the exact same launch trajectory (on paper and reality), it's unlikely: MS-08  and MS-09  had the exact same speed, altitude and downrange distance throughout the time telemetry was visible. In contrast, SpaceX showed very different telemetry during launches to the ISS (, , ). Also, it doesn't seem pre-computed: The telemetry during the CRS-7 webcast  at least doesn't just continue when the rocket explodes, indicating that it doesn't just display pre-computed numbers.
In Soyuz' defense: They probably have a different (older?) system to get telemetry, and it might bear additional challenges to feed them into a publicly accessible live-stream.
That is correct. Proton-M launches, on the other hand, had a live stream with probably the most detailed telemetry ever. That particular stream wasn't public, but was available to anyone on request.
They seem to have closed it somewhere around 2014 or 2015, possibly to avoid bad publicity or speculations.
On mobile so sorry if it isn't the best link. The failure happens as the vehicle cross the 44km altitude mark I believe. So you can scrub to that point.
The quality control of the current manufacturing team, on the other hand, seems not the same as it was for the earlier Soyuz vehicles.
Two datapoints are not a trend.
People who use run charts (control charts,time series charts) talk about trends being a set of five points all going the same way. http://www.qihub.scot.nhs.uk/media/529936/run%20chart%20rule...
A single data point doesn't establish any direction or trend at all.
With two data points you can establish a trend and make a prediction about the next data point. However, any two data points form a line, so any two results can be used to make a trend, however wrong it may be.
Only when more points are used can you confirm the trend and reduce the probability of being (un)lucky.
You'll be surprised.
In both cases, people complain because, for example, the same artist might be picked twice in a row. Most shuffle functions aren't random but try to make distance between similar songs.
The alternative is to fix whatever broke Soyuz.
Just look at their front page now -
It's been less than an hour since the incident, but let's focus on Soyuzes being grounded rather than on if the crew is OK.
A Soyuz crew makes an emergency landing after rocket fails. *** It is not clear how long the Soyuz vehicle will be grounded. ***
>11:02Z: BREAKING: Senior official says Russia suspending manned space launches pending investigation into rocket failure.
> It is not clear how long the Soyuz vehicle will be grounded.
How is that "bashing"? The article reports the crew escaped without harm, a fact that was quickly established: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/10/a-soyuz-crew-makes-a...
That Soyuz rockets have been grounded pending investigation is also a fact, and a natural course of action for any responsible space agency. Other rockets have also been grounded after accidents. The implications for the ISS crew if future Soyuz flights do not resume on schedule are a question that many are asking, so it's hardly unusual to address it.
Given that everyone knew the astronauts were safe and nobody died, the idea that people shouldn't discuss the causes and consequences of an incident when it's still fresh in people's minds makes even less sense than usual.
> After about 20 minutes of uncertainty, Russian officials confirmed the crew were OK, and had landed about 20km east of Dzhezkazgan, a city in central Kazakhstan. As rescue crews arrived, Hague and Ovchinin were reported in "good condition" and found out of the capsule.
This information was included in the first draft of the article: https://web.archive.org/web/20181011104529/https://arstechni...
The launch took place at 8:40 UTC. The article's timestamp indicates it was published at 10:26 UTC (3:26 AM PDT). That lines up with the cached copy above from 10:45 UTC, and a snapshot of Ars Technica's homepage at 10:05 UTC in which the Soyuz story had not yet appeared (with the next snapshot at 11:02 UTC showing the article, as expected): https://web.archive.org/web/20181011100529/https://arstechni...
The fact that the headline says the crew made an "emergency landing" and not a "crash" should have been a tip-off.
Here is that article, machine translated: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&js=y&prev...
You mean the option with 0% success rate so far is better than the one with 100% (till this incident)?
I'm not saying that Commercial Crew is "better" than the Soyuz program, but I am definitely saying that after two high profile incidents within a few weeks, I am concerned about the long term viability of relying on it for human access to space.
If you're gonna play that sort of silly numbers game, Commercial Crew has a 0% failure rate to Soyuz's non-zero rate.
The comparison isn't meaningless at all.
SLS is nowhere near, Dragon is coming next year. Soyuz has been extremely reliable but with two incidents they'll surely ground flights for a while.
Is there any other option?
One other option is the Boeing CST-100, however after its engine test failure this last summer it likely won't fly this year either. But like Dragon it is thought to be almost ready.
This live stream coverage shows the failure in the end https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8d9CqS2cvc
NASA live stream last minutes have audio track (in russian and translated to english) following the failure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDcYgYQbHg8
Both streams were abruptly halted, but links work for now.
3:07:15: The male Russian voice says "Booster failure, right? Two minutes, forty-five seconds."
Not sure how to reconcile that with this audio.
In an emergency situation it's pretty common to shut down all non official communications and direct everything through the contingency execution channels as well as to clear all non essential personnel from the room and stop all non essential activities this includes activities such as streaming and posting on instagram to the dismay of millennials everywhere.
It takes a special kind of person to think that the only reason people cut the stream during emergency is because they are trying to cover their asses, these people have dedicated their life to a job that isn't glamorous, doesn't pay well even in the US yet alone russia so yes they care about their colleagues and the people who they send up to space it's not that big of a club.
And it's in no way presumptuous to think that families and friends of those who were in the capsule might not want the world to see the events as they unfold in real time in case the worst happens. I don't think you'll find many people that would say yes I would like the screams of my loved one to be broadcast live as the spacecraft they are in crashes into a mist of fire and debris on the ground.
So yes congrats for managing to create a troll account for a single purpose of telling me exactly how wrong i was.
Is it just me, or is this unnecessarily hostile writing? This is literally rocket science, and the escape mechanisms seem to have worked perfectly. And at least the Russians do have (had) a working way to get stuff to iss, so I don't think these (uncited!) accusations are called for
Here’s an article from two and a half years ago, “What’s the matter with Russia’s rockets?” after a string of similar failures with unmanned rockets. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2016/20161201-wha...
As you said, this is rocket science. High corruption level and incompetent officials can be very destructive in domains like space exploration.
Transparency International ranks the US with Belgium and just behind Australia and Iceland on corruption.
Russia is #135, below Ukraine and Myanmar.
But I'm not knowledgeable in this area. I'm glad the safety worked as intended. I think space travel is necessary but expensive.
See the first segment in this video for an explanation of the system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMUJ004Dr8Q
Second stage was shut down because of the problems with a booster separation.
>>> The crew had to return in "ballistic descent mode", Nasa tweeted, which it explained was "a sharper angle of landing compared to normal".
is it me or is it a very diplomatic qay to sell : "fallen vertically" ?
In other words: falling, yup.
(But note that one could "fall" upwards or sideways initially - not like Arthur Dent , but like a bullet (or indeed rocket) fired upwards).
 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy states: "There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. ... Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, that presents the difficulties."
> The Descent Module (Russian: Спуска́емый Аппара́т, tr. Spuskáyemy Apparát), also known as a reentry capsule, is used for launch and the journey back to Earth. Half of the Descent Module is covered by a heat-resistant covering to protect it during reentry; this half faces the Earth during re-entry. It is slowed initially by the atmosphere, then by a braking parachute, followed by the main parachute which slows the craft for landing. At one meter above the ground, solid-fuel braking engines mounted behind the heat shield are fired to give a soft landing. One of the design requirements for the Descent Module was for it to have the highest possible volumetric efficiency (internal volume divided by hull area). The best shape for this is a sphere — as the pioneering Vostok spacecraft's Descent Module used — but such a shape can provide no lift, which results in a purely ballistic reentry. Ballistic reentries are hard on the occupants due to high deceleration and cannot be steered beyond their initial deorbit burn. That is why it was decided to go with the "headlight" shape that the Soyuz uses—a hemispherical forward area joined by a barely angled (seven degrees) conical section to a classic spherical section heat shield. This shape allows a small amount of lift to be generated due to the unequal weight distribution.
So, maybe ballistic refers to the fact that no lift was generated? (A glider is not considered ballistic, even though it has no propulsion.)
An, and indeed, that's what Wiktionary says:
> ballistic entry: when an entry vehicle has only drag with no apparent lift. An axisymmetric entry vehicle would have no apparent lift if its angle-of-attack time averaged out to zero, e.g. sinusoid angle-of-attack centered or trimmed about zero lift.
If you're strapped into a bucket seat with your back to the impact it's gonna take a fuckton of Gs to break bones. The astronauts would not be in "good condition" if they experienced that kind of a landing. They would be calling it a crash at that point.
If you want to investigate this, the term to look for is "black zone".
Once you start hitting atmo the velocity you've built up from your 1g of freefall meeting the resistance of the atmosphere creates g-forces.
edit: Never mind. Chris Hadfield says it's hitting the atmosphere. https://twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/status/1050385343625740289
The US really needs to invest more in our own infrastructure and astronaut delivery system.
Normally you'd slightly angle the craft downwards or upwards to alter the trajectory in the air, during reentry this allows you to stay longer at high altitudes and burn off more speed before you burn it at lower altitudes (literally).
The shape of the craft not being a wing is largely irrelevant, with sufficient speed even a brick can fly.
Now an argument can be made that BFS needs an escape pod or two, but those would mostly be useful in circumstances other than failure during launch.
(For those unfamiliar, BFB = Big Falcon Booster, BFS = Big Falcon Ship. BFR is both working in unison)
I guess they could send Soyuz MS-11 without crew so the current ISS crew has a more reliable craft for their own return.
"The orbital module is a spherical portion of the Soyuz that allows more gear to go up with the spacecraft. Unlike the lower crew capsule, the orbital module does not survive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere."
Edit: the boosters separated, and due to failure it might activated the escape capsule.
The BFR, to my knowledge, lacks one. Not sure if Musk has commented on that; I'd imagine his likely argument is that airliners don't either.
Orthodox Priests Blessing Things https://twitter.com/blagoslovie
Jesus is watching, folks. Look busy!
and if that isn't enough, here's the catch all phrase: god works in mysterious ways.
Same media house which some years ago told me that the Voyager spacecraft was provided with "a radioactive fuel ensuring continual thrust".