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Posted: 5/5/2003 8:50:21 AM EDT
[url]http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/space/05/05/soyuz.landings.ap/index.html[/url] Returned space crew lucky, others faced wolves Russia investigates off-course landing Monday, May 5, 2003 Posted: 1352 GMT ( 9:52 PM HKT) MOSCOW (AP) -- It could have been a lot worse for the two Americans and one Russian whose landing ended up nearly 300 miles off course and their recovery hours late. In 1976, a Soyuz spacecraft came down in a freezing squall and splashed into a lake; the crew spent the night bobbing in the capsule. [b]Eleven years before that, two cosmonauts overshot their touchdown site by 2,000 miles and found themselves deep in a forest with hungry wolves. That's when Russian space officials decided to pack a sawed-off shotgun aboard every spacecraft.[/b] Astronaut Kenneth Bowersox said with a smile that he didn't need the gun in the Kazakh steppes where he landed Sunday: "There was nothing out there but grass and us." On Monday, Russian space experts met to discuss what went wrong with the Soyuz capsule carrying Bowersox, astronaut Donald Pettit and cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin back from the international space station. The spacecraft was a new model that had never gone through a re-entry before. "I'll call it an interesting test flight experience," Bowersox, a Navy captain and former test pilot, told The Associated Press several hours after touchdown. It was the first time NASA astronauts had returned to Earth in a non-U.S. spacecraft and to another country. The switch from a shuttle to Soyuz landing came after the Columbia disaster in February, which resulted in the indefinite grounding of the entire shuttle fleet. The cockpit computer displays abruptly switched from a normal re-entry to a ballistic one just minutes before touchdown, and the three men knew they were in for a considerably steeper and rougher ride than usual. They came in short of their targeted landing site, and two hours passed before recovery forces spotted them. Two more hours went by before helicopters arrived for them, and another two hours before NASA personnel reached the scene. 'Most beautiful dirt' Bowersox, who commanded the 51/2-month space station mission, said he and his crewmates enjoyed having some time by themselves to get their land legs back and savor nature. "It was the most beautiful dirt I've ever seen," he said. By late afternoon, Bowersox, Pettit and Budarin had landed in the Kazakh capital of Astana, and a few hours later, they reached Star City, outside Moscow, where they were greeted by a crowd including their wives. During the flight from Astana to Star City, Bowersox told the AP he thought the crew had notified Russian Mission Control about the computer indications for a ballistic entry, but couldn't be sure. It's also possible communication was lost at that point, he said. The last call received from the Soyuz was to confirm that the main parachutes had deployed 16 minutes before touchdown. The antennas were smashed after the capsule smacked down and was dragged 40 feet by the parachutes. "We thought everybody should know" where the Soyuz landed, Bowersox said. "Obviously, we know so everybody else should know," he joked. A similar sentiment was expressed by Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, who overshot his splashdown point in the Atlantic by 250 miles in 1962. Carpenter fell behind in his orbital work and, while rushing to catch up, made a series of mistakes that led to the off-course landing. NASA knew where he was because of radar, but the flight director made sure Carpenter never flew in space again.
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 8:59:37 AM EDT
That I did not know, I wonder what model they have. And I dont think it is sawed off, probaly short barrel¿ Probaly also useful incase of alien boarding.
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 8:59:50 AM EDT
good old baikal scatterguns! hmmm? what's the best shot/slug to use on zombie space aliens?
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 9:01:12 AM EDT
Russians may be hardheaded and stubborn. But they aint stupid
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 9:19:58 AM EDT
Don't you know NASA requires weapons in space? Think about it (although it is NEVER discussed because of political correctness BS). There are many reasons to personnel weapons on the shuttle. What if someone goes nuts up there? They can take his ass out before he f*s everything up! Don' they carry on submarines?? not just when they are at the surface...
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 9:33:38 AM EDT
I wonder how catastrophic a firearm would be on a space craft. Talk about rapid decompression. Seems like NASA would more likely arm space shuttle crews with "less-than-lethal weapons".
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 9:58:04 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Offspring: I wonder how catastrophic a firearm would be on a space craft. Talk about rapid decompression. Seems like NASA would more likely arm space shuttle crews with "less-than-lethal weapons".
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Or frangible bullets. Hell a pen could be a weapon, I wonder what they carry though? FWIW the ICBM guys are paking too....yep underground and well armed(litteraly!).
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 10:01:40 AM EDT
So does that mean the BATFE is gonna arrest the 2 American astronauts for possession of an illegal shotgun? Maybe we'll see a "Ruby Red Ridge?" [rolleyes]
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 10:08:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By marvl: So does that mean the BATFE is gonna arrest the 2 American astronauts for possession of an illegal shotgun? Maybe we'll see a "Ruby Red Ridge?" [rolleyes]
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I wonder, if the Soyuz had landed in the US, would the crew be guilty of illegally importing a NFA weapon? And failure to properly fill out the forms and pay the tax on it?
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 6:30:27 PM EDT
It is probably one of those crazy Russian 3 gauge shotguns.
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 6:39:24 PM EDT
No, they are Government agents, and often times military also.
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 7:21:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 7:26:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Offspring: I wonder how catastrophic a firearm would be on a space craft. Talk about rapid decompression. Seems like NASA would more likely arm space shuttle crews with "less-than-lethal weapons".
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Nope, they can withstand super high velocity particles on the hull. The windows are super-thick. I'll bet they have an assortment of weapons to chose from. btw: ask NASA sometime...you will like their answer
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 7:32:45 PM EDT
The shuttles hull is pretty strong. Look how much of the cabin survived both the Challenger explosion and the Columbia break up. They may be aluminium but they are quite thick. Kind of like flying in a M113.
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 7:50:21 PM EDT
We must not allow a space capsule gap!
Link Posted: 5/5/2003 8:49:11 PM EDT
ive herd a few blerbs on the tube once in a great while about the survival [b]rifles[/b] the reds carry in orbit. But a survival [b]shotgun[/b] is a new one for me. im bettin' the weapon ivan has in orbit is a commie version of uncle sams pilot survival rifle.
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 4:20:08 AM EDT
Ban Space bound Russians! For tha childrens
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 4:34:34 AM EDT
Originally Posted By luger355: ive herd a few blerbs on the tube once in a great while about the survival [b]rifles[/b] the reds carry in orbit. But a survival [b]shotgun[/b] is a new one for me. im bettin' the weapon ivan has in orbit is a commie version of uncle sams pilot survival rifle.
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yea, but it's bigger, more powerful and more durable.
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 4:43:35 AM EDT
I still find it strange that NASA always landed capsules in the ocean. I would be more worried about the inflatable collar failing and losing a crew before the SAR team arrives. You'd think after 40 years of de-orbiting capsules, the Russian would've figured how to drop it on target.
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 4:58:03 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Moondog: I still find it strange that NASA always landed capsules in the ocean. I would be more worried about the inflatable collar failing and losing a crew before the SAR team arrives. You'd think after 40 years of de-orbiting capsules, the Russian would've figured how to drop it on target.
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NASA was worried about dropping it on a city, and since there's plenty of ocean and we have a big Navy, the ocean landing is pretty easy. The inflatable collar is installed by the SAR team. The capsule itself floats on it's own. The beachball looking ballons on the top of the floating Apollo capsule are there to tip the capsule right side up once it's floating in the ocean. The way the center of gravity was in Apollo, it could float upsidedown (i.e. pointy end down, heat sheild up), but once the ballons inflated it was enough to the thing right side up The SAR team fits the flotation ring on the spacecraft before the hatch is opened so that the capsule won't swamp and sink like Gus Grissom's Mercury did. They had a similar flotation collar for Gemini, which floats on it's side. I know this because I'm old enough to remember seeing them do it on TV (black and white with vacum tubes[:D]). Ross
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 10:01:32 AM EDT
You'd think after 40 years of de-orbiting capsules, the Russian would've figured how to drop it on target.
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[url]http://www.msnbc.com/news/909677.asp[/url] Software bug sent Soyuz off course By James Oberg, NBC News space analyst A mysterious software fault in the new guidance computer of the Soyuz TMA-1 spacecraft was the cause of the high-anxiety off-course landing over the weekend, NASA sources tell MSNBC.com. ONCE IDENTIFIED, the error should be easy to fix in the computer of the Soyuz TMA-2, which is now attached to the International Space Station to provide the new two-man crew with a way to return to Earth. But until the flaw has been identified and, if it is generic in all models of the spacecraft, repaired, it's one more worry for the new crew of the space station. They, too, might face a grueling drop back to Earth if they need to evacuate the station. Improvements to the landing equipment on this new model spacecraft, along with the Feb. 1 Columbia tragedy, combined to heighten anxiety even before the Soyuz headed back to Earth on Saturday. So when the premature euphoria of an incorrectly-announced "safe landing" shifted to the worrisome news that the Soyuz was far off course and out of radio contact, the possibility of a second space landing disaster wasn't far from anyone's minds. WHAT HAPPENED The Soyuz was skimming horizontally across the edge of the upper atmosphere at close to 25,000 feet per second (Mach 25, or 25 times the speed of sound), using air drag to shed its tremendous velocity. Normal plans would have called for choosing an altitude where the air was just thick enough to slow the craft by about 150 feet per second every second. In terms of earth surface gravity, whose acceleration is the classic 32 feet per second per second, that gives a deceleration force of about five G's. This flight plan requires the Soyuz to fly with the upper edge of its heat shield tilted slightly forward, to gain a small amount of "lift" and keep it from dropping into the lower, thicker layers of the atmosphere which will slow the spacecraft faster -- and thus decelerate it more strongly. To accomplish this, the spacecraft was designed to have its center of mass off center, closer to the outer hull above the heads of the crew. By rolling -- rotating along its long axis -- the heavy side "up," the necessary lift-producing tilt can be created and controlled. But this requires that the guidance computer recognize what direction is "up" and where the spacecraft is in relation to its aim point far ahead. While not a particularly complex calculation, it is one that must be done with high precision and reliability. Gemini, Apollo, and Soyuz spacecraft perfected this technique in the mid- to late-1960's. What happened this time was that the autopilot suddenly announced to the crew that it had forgotten where it was and which way it was headed. "The auto system switched to backup," a NASA source told MSNBC.com, "which surprised them". U.S. astronaut Kenneth Bowersox, one of the three men aboard the Soyuz, was even more dramatic in an interview given on his way back to Moscow. "The first thing we saw was signs on our displays that the entry was going to be off nominal," Bowersox said. "And when we saw those signs our eyes got very wide." The crew knew that without guidance commands, the autopilot would stabilize the spacecraft using a simple-minded backup procedure. It would send commands to steering thrusters to perform a slow roll, turning the spacecraft's "heavy side" continuously around the dial. This had the desired effect of "nulling out" any now-unsteerable lift and let the Soyuz follow a "ballistic" descent. But this also meant that without the lift to stretch its flight path, the Soyuz would fall faster into thicker air. That in turn would impede the spacecraft's forward speed even more "aggressively" (Bowersox's word), resulting in a deceleration about twice as high as normal and a landing far short of the planned site. SOFTWARE PROBLEMS CAN BE FATAL Historically, this is a very rare type of failure. It occurred several times between 1967 and 1975, but never afterwards. Thus, suspicion immediately focused on this new Soyuz's "improved" guidance computer. "Ken suspects a software problem", a NASA source told MSNBC.com. There was also the real possibility of crew error, and on Sunday, the head of the corporation that builds and operates the Soyuz spacecraft, Yuriy Semyonov, suggested that "one of the Americans" had pushed the backup-mode activation button. Bowersox was the only American who had any active role in the descent (it was astronaut Donald Pettit's job to follow the checklists), and he denied touching the button -- which, he joked, was being guarded carefully by Russian cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin. "We don't think we did anything to cause that to happen," he later said to a NASA press official. Software problems in the Soyuz guidance computer aren't just a matter of landing randomly back on Earth; they are potentially fatal. In 1988, a confused guidance computer nearly jettisoned the Soyuz T-M5's rocket engine section while the crew was still in orbit, a malfunction that would have doomed the men to a slow death by suffocation. Only the alertness of one of the pilots detected and aborted the insane command. In March 1997, the three-man Soyuz TM-24 barely evaded two potential catastrophic software flaws during its return to Earth. First, after separating from its propulsion module, the command module was nearly rammed by the jettisoned unit when its control computer fired the wrong set of pointing rockets. Moments later, the command module's autopilot lined it up for atmospheric entry -- but in precisely the wrong direction, nose first rather than heat shield first. Manual intervention fixed that problem -- but even at the height of the shuttle-Mir US-Russian space partnership, there's no indication the Russians shared news of either of these flaws with NASA. This time, since Budarin, Bowersox and Pettit knew that their backup descent profile was safe -- if rougher -- they kept their hands off the manual controls. "They didn't do anything," MSNBC.com was told. "[They] just let the auto system control." The rest of the descent appeared to go as planned, and the parachutes and soft-landing engines did their job. As in about half of all Soyuz landings, the landing module wound up on its side, probably pulled over by a gust of wind in its parachute just at touchdown. The three men, who knew they were far off course, were able to open the hatch themselves and get out; it's a much easier drop to the ground when the capsule is on its side. They then waited two hours to be spotted by a search plane, and several hours more for the arrival of the first helicopter.
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 11:36:18 AM EDT
Yuriy Semyonov, suggested that "one of the Americans" had pushed the backup-mode activation button
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Those damn cowboy Americanski's are at it again.
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