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Scott, Anyone?: How much harder is a Sino-Ruso landing...(8 posts)

Scott, Anyone?: How much harder is a Sino-Ruso landing...PdxMark
Oct 15, 2003 3:59 PM
on ground, than the old US splash-down? You gotta think that the 3-4 foot initial bob down into the water would ease the imapct quite a bit. Or maybe they just use bigger parachutes.
No idea. I fly planes...and try NOT to land hard. =) nmsn69
Oct 15, 2003 4:25 PM
re: Scott, Anyone?: How much harder is a Sino-Ruso landing...mohair_chair
Oct 16, 2003 7:16 AM
Hitting water can be actually be harder than hitting ground, which you can test by jumping off a diving board into a pool, but instead of shaping yourself for a strealined entry, hold your arms and legs out and try to hit the water flat on your chest and face. You'll probably knock yourself out, so have a lifeguard handy. You have to break the surface of the water before it becomes "soft."

The Russians have had more ground landings than the Americans have had water landings, so you'd think they've gotten pretty good at it, but their accidents seem to increase over time. Just this year they lost a capsule that had two Americans on board. Lost as in "we know it landed, but we can't find it." Soyuz TM-34 had what was described as a "hard landing." Eventually, they did find it, and everyone was fine. "The shock was sensible," said one of the Cosmonauts.

Assuming the chutes deploy and the soft landing engines fire, Soyuz capsules are fine, but they've had a few "high-G ballistic entries." They lost Soyuz 1 in 1967, when the among many other problems, the chutes got tangled on descent. US listening posts in Turkey heard Cosmonaut Komarov cursing the Russian space program the whole way down. After the crash, the soft landing engines ignited, destroying whatever was left.

In 1969, Soyuz 5 had a "flaming return" and crashed into a snow bank, 2000 kilometers off course. The Cosmonaut, Volynov, was torn from his seat, tossed around the cabin, and lost some teeth, but otherwise he was fine. He got out, and hiked a couple of kilometers in -40 degree temperatures to a peasant's hut.

There are all kinds of fascinating accidents listed here. A sample:

Soyuz-6. 1969 Oct 16. Landed "right besides a children's school."

Soyuz-23. 1976 Oct 16. DM came down on Lake Tengiz 2 km from shore. Electrical short in water caused deployment of reserve parachute. Both parachute lines kept capsule lying on its side in water, preventing hatch opening and blocking air vent. Inner walls became covered with ice. Recovery forces concluded crew was dead, dragged capsule to shore, awaited special team to remove bodies. Hatch opened by crew after eleven hours.

Soyuz-36. 1980 Jul 31. Failure of soft landing engine results in 30-G impact force.

Soyuz T-7. 1982 Dec 10. Landed on hillside, rolled downhill, wound up on side.

Soyuz TM-7. 1989 Apr 27. Double-impact, "hard landing", crewman injured on leg requiring medical treatment at landing site.

Soyuz TM-12. 1991 Oct 10. Hard impact, TV crew reported the capsule was "very dented" lying on its side.

Soyuz TM-15. 1993 Feb 1. Rolled down hill and stopped, lying on its side.

Soyuz TM-19. 1994 Nov 4. "Rough" landing, bounced once.
Great info, thanks... didn't know about "soft landing engines".PdxMark
Oct 16, 2003 8:43 AM
So that's how they pull-off the ground lands. But a 30G hit is a bit harsh when those engines fail. I'm guessing that a US-style splash down was far less than 30Gs.

As hard as a belly flop on water would be, I bet it would be worse on ground.

The cursing of Cosmonaut Komarov on his escent reminds me of the Bruce Willis movie Armaggedon, with the semi-delusional Russion cosmonaut showing how to fix a shuttle engine.
Sheesh, I hope Cosmonauts have good health insurance. nmsn69
Oct 16, 2003 9:21 AM
only the best!mohair_chair
Oct 16, 2003 9:48 AM
I heard an interview with Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham yesterday. When asked about the Russians, he said that in the American program, they would test equipment and train extensively for it on the ground. The Russians would send brand new stuff up with instructions included on how to use it! Can you imagine that? Hey, guys, we've put in a new flight computer, but don't worry, we think it will be better! Ten, nine, eight,....
Universal coverage, single payer. (nm)53T
Oct 16, 2003 5:24 PM
re: Scott, Anyone?: How much harder is a Sino-Ruso landing...BikeViking
Oct 17, 2003 11:01 AM
Even their airplane gets "interesting". Flying Aeroflot in the early 90's was a real treat...I remember watching the control cables over my head as we're getting ready to take off in our AN-74. The pilot then runs the engines to 100% with full application of brakes and then spools the engines down. The whole time I am thinking "What did he find that was wrong up there?" After a short pause, he guns it again and we take off. I stil wonder if anyhting was actually broken and Ivan just thought "Ah, Hell with it, that oil pressure isn't looking TOO bad!!"

THe second time we flew back from Moscow on an IL-86; the seat was broken (flew back low-rider style), the latrine lights didn't work and, for some strange reason, EVERYONE started clapping when we landed in Frankfurt. I asked one of my seatmates what that was all about and he said that any SAFE landing on Aeroflot planes should be commended.

Soemtimes it's better just not to know...