Skip to comments.Rocket Lab identifies faulty electrical connector as cause of launch failure
Posted on 08/01/2020 5:26:07 PM PDT by BenLurkin
A detached electrical connector on the second stage of Rocket Labs Electron rocket caused a failure on a July 4 mission that destroyed seven small commercial satellites, but the company said Friday it is on track to resume launching before the end of August.
Once the electrical system disconnected in flight, it cut power from the rockets battery to the electric turbopumps on the Electrons second stage Rutherford engine. That caused the engine to switch off prematurely around five-and-a-half minutes after the rocket took off from Rocket Labs launch base in New Zealand.
The early engine shutdown prevented the rocket from reaching the velocity necessary to enter a stable orbit around Earth, according to Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, a small satellite launch company headquartered in Long Beach, California.
But telemetry continued streaming from the launch vehicle back to Rocket Labs control center in Auckland, New Zealand, allowing engineers to analyze data and determine the cause of the failure. The kerosene-fueled second stage engine shut down in a controlled manner, and the rocket coasted to an altitude of around 121 miles (195 kilometers) before re-entering the atmosphere and burning up.
The faulty connector evaded Rocket Labs pre-flight testing procedures.
Basically, you could define it as really a thermal fault, Beck said. So while all of that testing showed no issues, after a period of time, one of the joints had a higher resistance, and that higher resistance led to heating.
That heating then led to thermal expansion of one of the components, he said. That thermal expansion and heating allowed some of the potting compounds around that joint (intended) to keep it secure from vibration to flow.
(Excerpt) Read more at spaceflightnow.com ...
That's three Nancy Pelosis or half a Gerrold Nadler. Who's up for some amateur rocketry?
Redundecy, what redundecy old timer. You NASA guys.....sheesh!
So many moving parts, and they all have to synchronize perfectly or kaboom. Rocket science truly is ... rocket science.
Only if Rocket Lab failed to pay tribute to the orbital gatekeepers who can cause 'failures' on demand. Just a little laser making it hot and then pop.
Connector made in China and bought on eBay?
Space is hard. But some exciting stuff going on now. First astronaut splashdown since 1975 tomorrow. SpaceX likely to hop their full-scale Starship prototype in the next few days. Latest Mars rover on its way.
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