Feeds

Software glitch blamed for CryoSat loss

Rockot still ok to fly again

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Officials investigating the loss of the CryoSat mission have revealed that a software glitch in the on board flight control system on the new, upper stage of the rocket was to blame.

There is no fault with the Rockot launcher itself, Russian officials said, which means it has been cleared for future flights, the BBC reports.

CryoSat launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia on 8 October, but not long into the launch a malfunction meant it had to be aborted and the rocket, along with its €123m payload went into the icy sea.

The satellite was loaded on a Rockot launcher, a modified military rocket with an additional upper stage, known as Breeze. Everything on board Rokot went as planned, but the second and third stages of the engines failed to ignite, meaning the satellite simply didn't have the necessary power behind it to reach orbit.

"We confirm from the information we have from the State Commission that there was a problem with the software flight control system in the Breeze upper stage of the launcher," European Space Agency spokesperson, Simonetta Cheli told the BBC. "This problem caused the failure of the shutdown of the engine of the second stage of the launcher."

CryoSat was designed to test the prediction that climate change is causing the ice at the poles to thin. It was to use an onboard radar altimeter to measure the thickness of sea ice at the poles, as well as land-locked ice sheets.

The team behind CryoSat is calling for the mission to be restarted, but the research councils that hold the purse strings on such things say it is too early to say whether that would be possible. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.