Interstellar Technologies releases video of launch failure


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Capitalism in space: The private Japanese company Interstellar Technologies today released a video of its June 30th launch failure.

The company is investigating the exact cause of the June 30 failure, which saw the 33-foot (10-meter) tall MOMO-2 lift off from a test site near the town of Taiki on Japan’s island of Hokkaido before crashing to the ground seconds later after it lost thrust. “The cause of the MOMO-2 failure is still under investigation,” Takahiro Inagawa, IST’s CEO, told Astrowatch.net. “However, we assume that its engine and hot-gas thruster for the roll control are responsible.

They say they are proceeding toward their third launch attempt.

[A]lthough the exact date of the launch has not been disclosed, Inagawa said that MOMO-3’s flight should be expected within months. “We will begin the next launch as soon as we are ready,” Inagawa said. “We were able to launch MOMO-2 within less than a year after MOMO-1. The launch interval of MOMO-3 and MOMO-2 will be shorter.”

I have embedded the video of the launch failure below the fold. You do want to view this. Trust me.

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17 comments

  • Col Beausabre

    What’s Japanese for “OH, #$&% !”

  • wayne

    Vanguard TV3 Rocket Launch (attempt…)
    December 6, 1957
    https://youtu.be/zVeFkakURXM
    0:53

  • Lee S

    How cool that we now get to see these “rapid unscheduled dissamblys” in HD!
    And that launch providers are not shy in sharing….
    At the end of the day… It is more or less rocket science!

  • Col Beausabre

    In fairness to Vanguard, the team was working on TV2 (Test Vehicle 2) designed to test the first stage when Sputnik was launch and they were told to make TV3 launch Vanguard 1 ASAP. (TV2 through 5 were to have flown – successfully – before SLV1 (Satellite Launch Vehicle) made the first launch attempt). So it was immature hardware that had not completed its testing.

    “The original schedule called for the TV3 to be launched during the month of September 1957, but because of delays this did not happen.[13] On October 4, 1957, the Vanguard team learned of the launch of Sputnik 1 by the USSR while still working on a test vehicle (TV-2) designed to test the first stage of their launcher rocket. While demoralizing to the Vanguard team, Minitrack was successful in tracking Sputnik, a major success for NRL.[14] At 11:44:35 a.m. on December 6, an attempt was made to launch TV-3. ”

    The Vanguard scorecard (Note that it appears that Vanguard 1 was launched by airframe TV4, not a SLV unit) and Vanguard 2 and 3 by SLV4 and 7 for a .272 batting average for the program

    Test vehicle launches
    1, The first Vanguard flight, a successful suborbital test of the Vanguard TV0 single-stage vehicle, was launched on December 8, 1956.
    2. On May 1, 1957, the two-stage test vehicle TV-1 was successfully launched.
    3. Vanguard TV-2, another successful suborbital test, was launched October 23, 1957.

    The Vanguard rocket launched three satellites out of eleven launch attempts:
    1.Vanguard TV3 – December 6, 1957 – Failed to orbit 1.36 kg (3 lb) satellite – low tank pressure caused engine cutoff T+2 seconds
    2.Vanguard TV3 Backup – February 5, 1958 – Failed to orbit 1.36 kg (3.0 lb) satellite – control failure caused vehicle breakup T+55 seconds
    3.Vanguard 1 – March 17, 1958 – Orbited 1.47 kg (3.2 lb) satellite
    4.Vanguard TV5 – April 28, 1958 – Failed to orbit 9.98 kg (22.0 lb) satellite – 3rd stage separation failure
    5.Vanguard SLV-1 – May 27, 1958 – Failed to orbit 9.98 kg (22.0 lb) satellite – 2nd stage attitude control failure prevented the 3rd stage from entering the correct angle for orbital insertion
    6.Vanguard SLV 2 – June 26, 1958 – Failed to orbit 9.98 kg (22.0 lb) satellite – 2nd stage lost thrust after only 8 seconds of burning due to fuel line obstruction
    7.Vanguard SLV 3 – September 26, 1958 – Failed to orbit 9.98 kg (22.0 lb) satellite – 2nd stage insufficient thrust for orbital insertion due to fuel line obstruction
    8.Vanguard 2 – February 17, 1959 – Orbited 10.8 kg (24 lb) satellite
    9.Vanguard SLV 5 – April 13, 1959 – Failed to orbit 10.3 kg (23 lb) 11 oz) satellite – 2nd stage hydraulics failure led to loss of control
    10.Vanguard SLV 6 – June 22, 1959 – Failed to orbit 10.3 kg (22 lb 11 oz) satellite – 2nd stage exploded due to stuck helium vent valve
    11.Vanguard 3 – September 18, 1959 – Orbited 22.7 kg (50 lb) satellite

  • MarcusZ1967

    And here I must put in the SpaceX efforts of landing…..

    https://youtu.be/bvim4rsNHkQ

    Not to forget this tho…..
    https://youtu.be/V3dvELj9kkU

  • MarcusZ1967

    And here I must put in the SpaceX efforts of landing…..

    https://youtu.be/bvim4rsNHkQ

  • wayne

    Col Beausabre-
    Great factoids!

    pivoting— I’ve been dying to get this in under some relevant Topic–
    I though we pretty much “perfected” small sounding rockets in the 60’s & 70’s?

    Sky and Telescope
    June 1970, page 344
    “The March Eclipse Program at Wallops Island”
    https://archive.org/details/Sky_and_Telescope_1970-06-pdf?q=june+1970

    25 different sounding-rockets were used to launch sub-orbital experiments to study the March 1970 eclipse. 11 were launched within 6 minutes of each other.
    To include Arcas, Nike Apache & Tomahawk, Aerobee 150 & 170, and Javelin rockets.
    Are any of these manufactured today??

  • More MOMO-2 video, ultra slo-mo using 1000fps cameras:

    High angle shot https://youtu.be/J11R_fVi1-o

    Low angle shot https://youtu.be/Jkaf1HQ_nN4

    Like Bob said, you do want to view this. Trust me.

  • Col Beausabre

    Wayne, In a word, no

    1, Arcas (originally “All-Purpose Rocket for Collecting Atmospheric Soundings”[1], also designated Big Boy Rocket or “PWN-6″[2]) was the designation of an American sounding rocket, developed by the Atlantic Research Corp. (now Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO)), Alexandria, Va..[3] It launched between July 31, 1959 and August 9, 1991 at least 421 times

    2. The Nike Apache, also known as Argo B-13, was a two-stage sounding rocket developed by Aerolab, later Atlantic Research, for use by the United States Air Force and NASA. It became the standard NASA sounding rocket and was launched over 600 times between 1961 and 1978.

    3. Nike Tomahawk was a two-stage American sounding rocket. The first stage was a Nike rocket, the second a Tomahawk rocket. The Nike Tomahawk was launched 395 times between June 25, 1963 and November 27, 1995.

    (Note – The Nike’s were the solid fuel first stage of the Nike-Ajax SAM made surplus when replaced by Nike-Hercules from 1960 onward….a rare example of the government being frugal)

    4. Javelin (Argo D-4) was the designation of an American sounding rocket. The four stage Javelin rocket had a payload of around 125 pounds (57 kg), an apogee of 1100 kilometers, a liftoff thrust of 365 kilonewtons (82,100 lbf), a total mass of 3,385 kilograms (7,463 lb), and a core diameter of 580 millimeters (22.8 in). It was launched 82 times between 1959 and 1976.

    5. The Aerobee rocket was a small (8 m) unguided suborbital sounding rocket used for high atmospheric and cosmic radiation research in the United States in the 1950s.[1]

    Research utilizing V-2 rockets after World War II produced valuable results concerning the nature of cosmic rays, the solar spectrum, and the distribution of atmospheric ozone. The limited supply and the expense of assembling and firing the V-2 rockets led to the development of a low cost sounding rocket to be utilized for scientific research. This rocket, the Aerobee, was developed under the joint guidance of James Van Allen at the Applied Physics Laboratory and Rolf Sabersky at the Aerojet Corporation and was supported by the Navy Bureau of Ordnance and the Naval Office of Research and Inventions (later ONR). The Aerobee drastically reduced the cost of a single research mission.[2]

    It was built by Aerojet General.[3] The company began work in 1946 and test fired the first complete Aerobee from the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico on November 24, 1947. It reached an altitude of 34.7 miles (55.8 km
    A total of 1,037 Aerobees (including variants) were launched from all locations, the last on January 17, 1985.

  • wayne

    Col Beausabre–
    Again, great factoids!

    I’ll pivot even further– Project HARP [not to be confused with Project HAARP and Alex Jones] and the “rocket-gun” in Barbados:
    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/project-harp-space-gun-barbados

    “Designed by Gerald Bull, the gun itself was originally built from a 65-foot long, 16” naval cannon. The cannon was later joined to another barrel, extending the length of the gun to 130 feet and making it too big for effective military application, but (seemingly) perfect for satellite delivery. smaller projectiles in a sabot that would protect the payload during the firing and would fall away as the satellite rose. At its apex, the gun was able to fire an object a staggering 112 miles into the sky, setting the 1963 world record for gun-launched altitude at 93 KM.”

  • wayne

    Steve Goslin–
    Great video!
    Glad I saw these before people started slicing & dicing them and adding fake sound effects.

    Ref: Gerald Bull project manager of the Barbados “space gun.”
    He got himself assassinated in 1990, allegedly by the Israeli’s, for his work on “super-guns” for Saddam Hussein.

  • In my library is a 1978 NASA reference publication written by Joseph Adams Shortal and called A New Dimension: Wallops Island Flight Test Range: the First Fifteen Years. It outlines the extensive sounding rocket research undertaken at Wallops from 1945 to 1960, much of it dedicated to understanding the basics of rocketry at the very beginnings of the space age.

    The book is not for those wanting an exciting read. Instead, it details the actual engineering work at Wallops and how that research influenced later developments. It does however include a lot of very cool pictures of the variety of sounding test rockets launched during this time. Generally most were built quickly and simply, designed to maximize the engineering data needed for each test. In fact, the book describes a completely different universe than the one we live in today, where a government facility focused on results (getting them) and doing so responsibly and efficiently.

  • wayne

    Steve–
    Again, great video. Looks really good in 1080p.

    Referencing the low-angle shot–
    I’m no rocket-scientist but, is flame suppose to be coming out anywhere other than the engine?
    My amateur 2 cents worth = “fuel leak.”

    MarcusZ1967–
    good stuff.

  • wayne

    Mr. Z.,
    Good stuff!

    (tangentially—I have this nagging suspicion…. NASA pays people to constantly re-invent stuff, over and over, and over, again.)

    Is there some limiting reason that the Japanese for example, can’t dust off old blueprints of hardware they know works, and then build on that?

  • wayne

    FYI– if you track back to the YouTube up-loader of the videos noted by Steve above, they have a lot of additional video of the development of the MOMO2. (descriptor text is all Japanese.)

    for example….
    “120s static firing test of 12kN MOMO main engine”
    may 2017
    https://youtu.be/mEn7dWq41A8
    2:58

    again, I’m no rocket-engineer, but that thrust doesn’t resemble the nice symmetrical ‘profile’ I’m used to seeing. (and the nozzle sorta looked like it was melting, at least initially.)

  • Edward

    wayne asked: “Is there some limiting reason that the Japanese for example, can’t dust off old blueprints of hardware they know works, and then build on that?

    Generally, engineers work on new designs in order to correct problems or to use better or more efficient technologies. If they are to compete with new rockets that are being built around the world, then they need more modern rockets, too.

    The problems that we are seeing are hopefully only minor problems, not fundamental design problems, and will be solved soon.

    Because there were flames coming from behind the rocket nozzle on the test, and because the engineers were not concerned, it seems that these flames are a feature, not a bug.

    I’m not quite sure about the symmetrical profile concern. It could be normal for an engine of that size, or perhaps there is something happening in the combustion chamber that does not worry the engineers or that they are trying to solve (e.g. shock waves or unsymmetrical combustion). A lot of things can happen when the pressures, temperature, flow rates, and cetera are that high.

    To me, the nozzle looks more like it is only glowing hot, rather than melting. Glowing hot is fine for things that are designed for that much heat. The heating elements in an electric oven glow. A melting nozzle could be normal, as solid rocket nozzles sometimes ablate in order to “keep cool,” or it could be abnormal, as happened to Japan’s Akatsuki Venus probe almost a decade ago.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akatsuki_(spacecraft)#Orbit_insertion_failure

    … engine combustion became oxidizer-rich, with resulting high combustion temperatures damaging the combustion chamber throat and nozzle.

    To all: those are nice videos. Thank you.

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