Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now Join Now!

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

   Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Louis Friedman

Volna Failure Review Board Reports on Loss of Cosmos 1

Posted by Louis D. Friedman

20-07-2005 12:00 CDT

Topics: Planetary Society Projects, Cosmos-1, solar sailing, Planetary Society

The Volna Failure Review Board convened by the Makeev Rocket Design Bureau, manufacturers of the Volna launch vehicle, has made its final report to the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, concerning the attempted June 21 launch of our Cosmos 1 spacecraft. They concluded that the telemetry data from the launch vehicle was sufficient to determine that the launch failed due to an premature shut-down of the first-stage engine caused by a “critical degradation in operational capability of the engine turbo-pump.”

The engine shut down after firing for 82.86 seconds, instead of the expected burn of approximately 100 seconds. The Failure Review Board concluded also that the first and second stages never separated and, as a result, the spacecraft propulsion system did not fire, and the spacecraft did not separate from the third stage. They stated that the launch vehicle’s on-board control system automatically aborted the mission 160 seconds into the flight. They did not describe any telemetry data to support the conclusion that the rocket’s stages never separated.

The review board included members from Makeev, the Lavochkin Association (which built Cosmos 1) and Tsniimash, a lead engineering center of the Russian space agency. No one involved with spacecraft tracking or on-board electronics participated in the analysis, and the board did not review or consider the data received at the Kamchatka portable tracking station that some of the team think might have come from the spacecraft. That would only have been possible if the spacecraft had separated from the rocket and its orbit insertion motor had fired.

The team from the Space Research Institute and The Planetary Society analyzing the tracking data has now ruled out the possibility that any signals received at the Panska Ves station in the Czech Republic came from the spacecraft. The signal received at the Majuro portable station in the Marshall Islands is also unlikely to have come from the spacecraft. But the Kamchatka data looks very much consistent with having come from Cosmos 1.

The Planetary Society was not invited to be part of the failure review. We did receive a warning from the U.S. State Department reminding us that, under International Arms Traffic Regulations (ITAR), we are not allowed to participate in a launch failure review without their approval. . But even before the failure review, there was a serious lack of communication and coordination with the project and launch vehicle teams.

The Society is considering its next steps in planning how we will try again. We need additional data before we can reach an independent conclusion about whether or not the Volna’s stages separated and the spacecraft’s orbit insertion motor fired. With that information, we will be better able to chart our course for the next flight of a solar sail.

 
See other posts from July 2005

 

Or read more blog entries about: Planetary Society Projects, Cosmos-1, solar sailing, Planetary Society

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Mars Orbiter Mission at Mars

Many Rosetta NavCam views of the selected Philae landing site
Philae's selected landing site
Primary and backup landing sites for Philae (spinning shape model)
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Fly to an Asteroid!

Travel to Bennu on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft!

Send your name

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!