Slightly OT: Leonidias hits a satellite? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

What could cause a satellite fuel leak?

From CBS Marketwatch today:


-- ng (, November 17, 1999


from search on satellite

NOVEMBER 17, 13:22 EST

Japan Rocket May Have Leaked Fuel

By GINNY PARKER Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) - This week's loss of a $94 million satellite just minutes after launch may have been caused by fuel leaking from a rocket booster, Japanese space officials said Wednesday.

The failed launch of the MTSAT satellite on Monday was the second this year caused by problems with the H-2 rocket, the key to Japan's space program. The program is competing with Europe and the United States for a share of the commercial satellite-launching market.

Officials at the National Space Development Agency ordered the rocket destroyed after launch Monday when engine trouble developed and they feared the rocket might veer out of control.

Liquid hydrogen fuel flowing from cracked pipes probably caused the engine trouble, NASDA spokeswoman Makiko Nishihara said.

A video of the launch showed abnormal jets of gas shooting from the rocket's main engine shortly after takeoff. This, along with flight data transmitted during the launch, provided clues about why the rocket malfunctioned, Nishihara said.

She said the agency was still investigating what might have caused the cracks in the pipes.

The failed launch was a major setback for Japan's government-run program.

``This doesn't just reflect poorly on the National Space Development Agency, it leaves serious doubts for Japan about the future of space as a business,'' said an editorial in the Nihon Keizai newspaper, Japan's main business daily.

U.S. companies considering launching satellites with Japanese rockets might now reconsider, it said.

Over the past few years, Japan's space program has been plagued by bureaucratic wrangling, cost overruns and technical difficulties. Still, it has successfully put a satellite in orbit around the moon and was the first to dock two satellites in space by remote control.

Concerned by the development of long-range missiles by its unpredictable communist neighbor, North Korea, Japan has promised to launch its first spy satellites in 2003. home ] us news ] world ] business ] sports ] weather ] search ] help ]

Copyright 1999 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments and questions AP privacy statement

-- ready freddie (, November 17, 1999.

And this has what to do with y2k?

-- (asteroid@belt.way), November 17, 1999.

Thanks, ready freddie.

-- ng (, November 17, 1999.

What ever happened to the "mars probe" they launched six months early last year and just parked in orbit around the Earth? That story never did pass the smell test with me.

-- Nikoli Krushev (, November 17, 1999.

Leonidias consist of mostly ice particles and other particular matter from a comet's tail (passing). Chances of a chunk large enough to do serious damage to a LEO satellite are very small. Fuel leak on a satellite could be due to defects (in the metal) during manufacturing phase or during the actual launch and deployment.

-- joe thomas (, November 17, 1999.

All, it's not the SIZE of the meteor (or ice chunk) it's the SPEED that does the damage. Even one miniscule hole could breech the hull, and with the pressure differrence, it wouldn't take long for all of the O2 to leak out, or perhaps even cause an explosion.

-- Deb M. (, November 18, 1999.

C'mon, Deb. We all know that size DOES matter. I hate it when women say it doesn't, when we damn well know it does.

What were we talking about, anyway?

-- counting (, November 18, 1999.

The rocket was destroyed before the satellite was launched. It never made it into the meteor zone.

-- helen (, November 18, 1999.

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