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Third stage separation focus of Progress failure investigation

The circumstances behind the failure of Russia’s Progress freighter this week are now pointing to the moment when the freighter separated from the Soyuz rocket’s third stage.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

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One comment

  • Gealon

    Given all the chatter about abnormal burn time on the third stage and a cloud of debris, I wouldn’t be surprised if something in the third stage propulsion system failed/exploded. This would account for damage to the Progress that might have prevented deployment of the Kurs antennae and ruptured the Progress’ own propellant tanks, further accounting both for the uncontrolled spin and the talk about the flight controllers inability to pressurize the system.

    It makes me wonder though, since this brings their modernized rocket into question, could they not fall back on the older design until the problem is traced? I can’t imagine that the Russians who have been flying this design for so many years would be as stupid as Congress was with the Saturn program and actually scrap the hardware used to build the stages. Naw, couldn’t be. In any case, this is a prime opportunity for Space X to pull everyone’s collective butts out of the fire.

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