Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tulipa kolpakowskiana? #8

I know ... you don't need to tell me ... this thread is getting pretty ridiculous now ... This time, it's really SiberianTiger's fault. He have very kindly proposed to post a question on the Soyuz separation sequence on Novosti-Kosmonavtiki 's forum few days ago, and ... well some of the answers to his post triggered me into using Google with the term EVTI, which is the real acronym for what we have been calling Thermal Blankets ... and here's what I found:

During its orbital flight, the SA is covered with six overlapping panels of MLI insulation (EVTI, ekranno-vakuumnaya termoizplyatsyia, = vacuum-shield thermal insulation). These panels are fastened to the hull with transverse belts that come apart when the SA separates from the PAO. During reentry, the panels are blown away by air stream and thruster plumes.]

How reliable is that piece of information? Well, it's taken from NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status for June 8th 2005 ... which some folks will consider somewhat reliable ;-) Now, the tricky part is going to simulate the blowing away of the blankets during the early stages of the reentry and when the RCS of the Descent module is been used ...

BTW, today is the return of TMA-8 crewed by ISS's Expedition 13th and Anousheh Ansari. I sure wish some external cameras localed on the Orbital or Service Modules could capture some of the events that will occurs ... that'll be very helpful ...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tulipa kolpakowskiana? #7

OK, bare with me for what I'd like to think as the last post on the thermal blankets - modules separation subject (yeah right) ... I spent the last few days rewiring our 7K-OK to support the simultaneous separation of the Orbital and Service modules and, aside from a couple of minor tweaking to come, I believe we finally got something that is relatively accurate .. well kinda ... I'm still not too sure about the timing of the separation, nor the way the blankets peel off ... But here it is:
First, the cable running from the PAO to the BO is yanked away ...
Then the spacecraft separates into 3 modules and the blankets are peeled away ...

Et voila ... now we can all (hopefully) move on ;-)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tulipa kolpakowskiana? #6

Over the course of the week-end, and thanks to the contribution of Anik, Danderman and Jim (from the NasaSpaceflight L2 forum), we have gained a better knowledge of the Soyuz modules separation. Here are the facts:
  • On the original Soyuz (OK, OKS), the BO and PAO were jettisoned at the same time.
  • On Soyuz T and TM, the BO was jettisoned before the deorbit burn (in order to save propellant) until TM-5. Since then the jettison is done simultaneously (like it was before).
  • The thermal blankets are peeled away at the time of the separation (likely torn away by the PAO and BO pulling them in opposite directions, like the image from my previous post shows).
The question now is to decide how best to render the peeling of the blankets. We could have them break in several pieces, which is likely more realistic, but that will put a bit more strain on the player computer .. without been all that important after all ... I guess some experimentation are necessary ...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tulipa kolpakowskiana? #5

I finally brought a few of my Soyuz questions over to L2 in hope that any of the space aficionados lurking on these forums will have any insight(s) into the matter ... and to my surprise (I've got to admit), I got two different persons telling me that the thermal blankets (which if you recall were the subject of some posts few months ago) actually stay attached to the SA after the separation of the Orbital and Service modules .... darn ... so much for spending days obsessing about the timing and parameters of their separations' animation ... 9_9 Now, if this piece of information can be confirmed it will definitely simplify the PAO jettison sequence. I won't have to trash all the code I wrote for the animations as we'll be reusing it to simulate blanket failures such as the one that occurred on Soyuz TM-9.

The Wikipedia entry concerning this particular Soyuz flight have a rather interesting sentence:

"During reentry, the cosmonauts ejected both the orbital module and the service module simultaneously in an effort to minimize the chances that a blanket could snag. Normally the orbital module went first."

Hmm ... now, if I could figure out why they did that, it will be very helpful in verifying the information given to me by the two L2's subscribers ...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Стыковка! #2

Once again, I was glued to NASA TV last night, watching the docking of Soyuz TMA-9 to the ISS :-) As usual if you missed it, you can get a video of the event from Space-Multimedia. The amount of chatter on the audio loop during the docking is making me wonder how much data are the guys on the ground getting from telemetry ... I mean, the Shuttle's docking in comparison is done in an (almost religious) quasi complete silence. It could also be that (AFAIK) the Shuttle dock manually, while Soyuz docking is automatic. So the commander of the Shuttle need to concentrate on its flying instead of just monitoring the status of the various system and progress of the automated docking system ...

Altought Anousheh Ansari haven't started blogging from the ISS yet, she sent an email (from Space) today. I hope she'll post all the pictures she took during her flight to the station (and also any pictures from the station) :-)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Выведение! #2

What could I said about today launch that I didn't already said 6 months ago when TMA-8 was launched? ... Not much ... Soyuz launch are still somewhat rather dull ... In any case it's still worth watching it, and in case you missed it, there's an high quality video on In contrary to the Space Shuttle which is launched over the Atlantic ocean, the Soyuz are launched over land and all components of the rocket but the 3rd stage (Block I) which enter orbit with the spacecraft, drop back somewhere over the steppes of Kazakhstan. After 45 years of space launch, that's quiet a lot of junk laying around, and more junk falling down every so often.

The spaceflight participant slot was occupied for this launch by Anousheh Ansari, I'll be monitoring her blog and web page over the coming week for any thing of interest ... so far she haven't blogged from orbit yet.

Meanwhile, the NASA SpaceFlight gallery is been slow to be updated with High-res pictures from the launch ... darn.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Live from Baikonur LC1

Less than 20mn left before TMA-9 liftoff from its pad in Baikonur. Nasa TV is broadcasting the launch live! Oh boy another exciting week for the space enthusiast :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Moving too fast ...

I came to realize while watching the video of the deployment of the solar array installed yesterday on the ISS, that I got the deployment timing of Soyuz own solar panels quiet wrong. I like to think that when I wrote that part, I simply didn't have the patience the wait several minutes for the whole panel to unfold ... and that didn't just disregard some basic law of spacecraft engineering ... Now the problem is to find the correct amount of time it is supposed to last.

Few weeks ago, I will have no doubt said that once I will have received Soyuz : A Universal Spacecraft, finding any obscure details on this spacecraft will be as simple as flipping through the pages of that book ... Obviously I was dreaming ... That book surely have some good stuff in it, but in no way can it be considered to be the definitive, know-it-all, Soyuz bible (c'mon the term Vzor isn't even in the Index!).

Anyway ... the pace of the addon's development have picked up steam again, we are churning out Developer Release (DR) like sausages ... still, don't expect a release in your lifetime .. err .. I meant anytime soon .. ;-)

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Well no, I just didn't get back today ... I've been lurking around for a week already, but without much new stuff to show .. well I didn't feel like posting was necessary. This month is looking rather exciting for the space enthusiast, with a Shuttle launch (up in orbiter now) and a Soyuz launch (to the ISS) soon after. Speaking of launch, while I was away, some of the Orbiter's folks have got together on a project to build a better version of the Baikonur launch site. The following screenshots (posted by Mustard) looks pretty promising:
Can't wait to launch our Soyuz from it :-)