New Zealand rocket fails to reach orbit, loses satellites

Should have put some more money in the meter.

The mistake was calling it the thirteenth launch instead of 12B.
Have American launch failures faded from memory?
The science is in the design of the rocket motors and the carbon fibre construction. The investigation is underway and with the talent involved I’m sure that the launch program will be back on track quickly.


Speaking as someone who worked on a rocket project (Shuttle main engine) I can assure you that rocket science is perfectly straightforward. Rocket engineering, on the other hand …




Ok, so I’ve changed the title. I thought the “Come on New Zealand - This isn’t rocket science” was slightly amusing. Perhaps not.

BTW, in a shipboard setting the proper response to that claim is to look at the cadet who said it and yell; “And do I look like a f*cking rocket scientist to you?”

Of course that wouldn’t work if you actually were a rocket scientist (layman’s term).

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My error, I should have acknowledged the engineers.

Oh, sure, I was just trying to follow up on the humor. The Shuttle was a poor idea terribly implemented. But, as we said back in the day, “it’s a charge number.”




Thomas Kuhn talks about "normal science" basically puzzle solving as opposed ground breaking science, the so-called new paradigm.

I worked as unskilled labor for a civil engineering company but from what I could see what the company was doing seemed fairly pedestrian, computing volume of material to be removed and marking the location of underground utilities.

Presumably like science, engineering is along a spectrum, designing, building and launching rockets not having that much in common with spray painting pavement at underground utility locations.

Actually, the trick of engineering management is to try to make launching rockets look like spray painting pavement at underground utility locations. After watching the Shuttle slow-motion fiasco unfold I came to have a deeper appreciation for Koskin’s (the guy who designed the T34) supposed axiom “80% old tank, 20% new tank.”

At the time of its design, the Shuttle main engine was the largest hydrogen-oxygen engine ever built. It was the first one that was throttleable. It was the first one that had humans sitting on top of it. It was the first one that was managed by a full-authority digital controller. (Without the software it was just a box of parts). 100% new engine, 0% old engine.

My employer (Honeywell) did the controller, which meant we had to do the software to test it and the engine (IBM did the flight software). The reliability requirements were about the same as for the flight versions, for a catastrophic failure would certainly destroy the engine under test (expensive), probably destroy the test fixture (more expensive) and the FEA showed there was a nonzero probability it could destroy the entire Michoud facility (extremely expensive).

Long series of expensive delays. Rocketdyne would come to Minneapolis and give a briefing that said “This is how the rocket motor works.” Then they’d do some test firings (every Tuesday) and come back and say “No, this is how the rocket motor works.” And finally they showed up and said “Can you guys help us figure out how the rocket motor works?” Learned a lot from that project, mostly how not to do things.


Earl, Impressive the amount of knowledge the posters share on this site. Way over my head sometimes, but I enjoy what they do share. I drove some decent sized boats and ATB’s, and nobody got killed or exploded. Consider myself blessed with all that going on around me and the businesses I operated in.

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A nice find. Peter Beck was on our news and said they have a huge amount of data to process and he was very confident they would find exactly what went wrong.

Scott Manley is the bee’s knees in rocketry.

Your AC has been isolated and your cabin lights have been turned off and your phone is now the only one that can answer calls throughout the vessel. Sweet dreams!

Not specific to the New Zealand rocket.

One of the main reasons why the Starliner’s first flight failed was because Boeing divided its tests in small chunks instead of conducting a longer one that simulates the whole process from launch to docking. As a result, the aerospace company didn’t discover that the spacecraft’s onboard computer time was miscalibrated by 11 hours, preventing Starliner’s thrusters from firing and sending it to the correct orbit. In addition, Boeing didn’t test the Starliner’s software against its service module. The company used an emulator, which ended up being flawed, and didn’t discover a critical software defect that could’ve led to “loss of vehicle.”

gawd … !! … boeing … they’ve come a long way.