Old Proton Ullage motor explodes causing debris

by | Jun 13, 2016 | Satellites, Science | 0 comments

At 0920 GMT on 1 June, a stage that was used as an earlier alternative to the Breeze M on Proton launches has exploded in orbit. The Ullage tankage/motor from a Block DM-2 upper stage used by a Proton M launch of the Glonass navigation satellite Cosmos 2449 in December 2008 has fragmented into at least 20 pieces of tracked debris.

Ullage motors are used to accelerate a rocket stage prior to main engine ignition to settle the propellants at the feeder end of their tanks ready for use in microgravity conditions. These small engines use the hypergolic propellant combination nitrogen tetroxide and hydrazine which react on contact. It is thought that over time tank corrosion allows these explosive combinations to mix with explosive results.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Rispace 2018 London: Asteroid mining gets thumbs down, electrolysed water as propellant gets thumbs up, while GEO debris can be surprisingly hazardous

This year's Rispace - Reinventing Space - conference, which was held in London in November, had a blend of keynote speakers and technical presentations covering Read more

ISS astronauts patch air leak as Soyuz craft “is punctured by debris/micrometeoroid strike” but actually the hole was drilled (Updated)

NASA has reported that the crew aboard the International Space Station have had to to patch an air leak after an Read more

Analysis: Measuring space debris risk

Space debris and its growing potential to impact on orbiting satellites and spacecraft is a hot topic of which even Read more

IAC 2016 Guadalajara: Airbus and SSTL work on space debris removal missions

At the IAC 2016 Guadalajara, Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) showed its continued interest in the problem of space debris removal Read more

Airbus DS invests in TESER concept for debris reduction

Airbus Defence and Space is to lead the TeSeR (Technology for Self-Removal of Spacecraft) project to remove space debris from orbit. The project Read more

Analysis: Human error is usually the culprit behind most serious GEO satellite anomalies

The media and press has pointed up the danger of space debris and solar storms to the world’s satellite fleet, Read more

Mystery change in satellite orbit blamed on Chinese debris strike may not be true (Updated)

The mystery change in the orbital parameters of a small Russian satellite have now have been explained: it was apparently Read more

Breeze M upper stage blows up in orbit causing potential debris hazard

It has been announced that the Russian-built Breeze M (Briz-M) upper stage that was responsible for the faulty Proton M Read more

Categories

Archives