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Oct 08 2014

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Arianespace Announces Cause of Galileo Launch Anomaly…sort of

“shortcoming” in the system thermal analysis of the Fregat design?

The Soyuz rocket was exonerated and found to have performed as planned. The problem was in the Fregat upper stage because the hydrazine fuel froze and blocked the fuel supply to the Fregat’s thrusters. The fuel froze because the hydrazine and cold helium feed lines were connected by the same support structure, creating a thermal bridge. The root cause was found to be “ambiguities” in the design documentation as the result of poor system thermal analysis in the design phase.

Interesting…I’d sure like to see the specifications to see the specific problem. As a tester, I’d say that the lab or pre-tests did not accurately reflect the operational environment, otherwise this would have been caught earlier.

These systems are SO complex that thorough testing in an operational environment is the only way you can catch interdependency flaws like this. The problem is that operational testing is typically way more expensive than lab or simulator testing, so there has to be a trade between the two in decision how much operational testing is enough.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/10/08/arianespace-announces-cause-of-galileo-launch-anomaly-sort-of/

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