Russia to disassemble the next Soyuz rocket scheduled for launch

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In order to make sure it was assembled correctly and will separate properly, Russian engineers plan to disassemble the four strap-on boosters of the next scheduled Soyuz rocket and then put it back together for its November launch.

I wonder however if they are studying this assembly process to figure out why the manned Soyuz rocket that failed on October 11 was assembled badly so that they can revise that process. It sounds like they are merely checking to make sure the rocket is put together right, without figuring out what went wrong.



  • Andrew_W

    I didn’t even know the word existed:

    conceal or disguise one’s true feelings or beliefs.
    “an honest, sincere person with no need to dissemble”
    synonyms: dissimulate, pretend, deceive, feign, act, masquerade, sham, fake, bluff, counterfeit, pose, posture, hide one’s feelings, be dishonest, put on a false front, lie; More
    disguise or conceal (a feeling or intention).
    “she smiled, dissembling her true emotion”

  • Andrew_W: Why must you be disagreeable and ugly? Most people, when they spot a typo on my part, graciously note it so I can correct. They do not write snark.

  • Andrew_W

    It’s called humor Mr. Zimmerman. People pointing out grammatical errors often comes across as nit-picking. Only you and a few of your devotees would interpret my attempt at not coming across as an overbearing nit-picker as “disagreeable and ugly”.

  • Andrew_W: No, it indicates that your attempt at humor did not work. Don’t quit your day job.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “I wonder however if they are studying this assembly process to figure out why the manned Soyuz rocket that failed on October 11 was assembled badly so that they can revise that process. It sounds like they are merely checking to make sure the rocket is put together right, without figuring out what went wrong.

    I certainly hope that it is the former rather than the latter. My first reading of the article led me to believe that they were doing this “ in order to avoid launch failures similar to October 11 incident.” Failures, plural, as in future launches. However, re-reading the article, the rest of it only suggests that the inspection is an exercise intended to affect this one rocket assembly. I hope that it is a poorly written article that fails to clearly report on the objective of the exercise.

    If they are doing their quality control program right then they are examining closely how the suspected problem could have occurred and determining how to change their procedures in order to prevent this — apparently repeated — problem in the future as well as how to inspect for damage, other problems, or correct installation after assembly.

    reports have suggested that the booster was installed incorrectly when the rocket was assembled – having been forced into a mounting lug that was bent out of shape in the process. A similar anomaly reportedly occurred during an unmanned launch in March 1986.

    What is far more important is to change a culture that allows for the possibility of a bent mounting lug or, as happened five years ago, the improper installation of sensors that were difficult to install in the incorrect orientation.

    Once installed in the rotated position, there was little opportunity to discover the error. Color coded cables worked just as well in the inverted position. Although there were arrows on the DUS to indicate the upwards direction, there was no corresponding arrow in the mounting plate as a reference point.

    In the 1980s, the US airline industry realized that at the rate of increase in the number of flights if the accident rate remained the same then there would be a headline each week reporting on an airline accident. That industry became very serious about accidents and safety and took great efforts to reduce human error, man-machine interface sources of error, and mechanical problems in order to make flying safe. It worked very well, because the number of accidents per year of US airlines has dropped dramatically, despite an increase in flights. It required changes in the cultures, thinking, and procedures in the cockpit, maintenance facilities, design and manufacturing companies, traffic control, and management, but it worked.

    Lockheed Martin, about 15 years ago, dropped a satellite and became similarly serious about overall quality at all levels and in all areas, not just the assembly rooms.

    The Russians need to make similar serious efforts to improve quality, reduce corruption, and adapt to the changing competition — the capitalism in space.

  • Dick Eagleson

    It is good that the Russians feel the need to polish up their skills at disassembling. Lord knows they’ve long since proven they have no need of further practice dissembling. At that, they are world-class.

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