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LANDING & POSTLANDING
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Abort Guidance System
Auxiliary Power Unit
Abort to Orbit
Russian Micropurification Unit (Russian)
Carbon Dioxide Removal System
Colony Forming Unit
Control Moment Gyroscope
Cell Performance Monitor
Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustible Products
Extravehicular Mobility Unit
Electrical Power System
Fuel Cell Monitoring System
Functional Cargo Block (Russian)
Flight Safety Office
Galley Iodine Removal Assembly
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
General Purpose Computer
Global Positioning System
Inertial Measurement Unit
International Space Station
Internal Thermal Control System
Launch Control Officer
Low Iodine Residual System
Loss of Crew
Loss of Vehicle
Minimum Duration Flight
Master Events Controller
Main Landing Gear
Micro-Meteoroid Orbital Debris
Marshall Space Flight Center
NASA Standard Initiator
Office of Safety & Mission Assurance (NASA HQ)
Protuberance Air Load
Precision Approach Path Indicator
Primary Avionics Software System
Pyrotechnic Initiator Controller
Partial Pressure of CO2
Reaction Control System/Subsystem
Remote Manipulator System
Russia or Russian
Return to Launch Site
Safety & Mission Assurance
Solid Fuel Oxygen Generator
Solid Rocket Booster
Condensate Water Processor Unit (Russian)
Space Shuttle Main Engine
Space Shuttle Program
Thermal Protection System
Loss of Crew
Crew Injury/Illness and/or Loss of Vehicle or Mission
Related or Recurring event
Soyuz Landing Events
Soyuz 1 4/24/67
Soyuz 5 1/18/69
Soyuz 18-1(18a) 4/5/75
Soyuz 23 10/16/76
Soyuz 36 7/31/80
Soyuz T-7 12/10/82
Soyuz TM-7 4/27/89
Soyuz TM-12 10/10/91
Soyuz TM-14 8/10/92
Soyuz TM-15 2/1/93
Apollo 12 11/24/1969
Apollo 15 8/7/1971
Soyuz 15 8/28/1974
Soyuz 1 | 4/24/1967 | Crew: 1 | Loss of Crew | Related or Recurring event
Main and reserve parachutes failed.
On April 24, 1967 on the maiden flight of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, the cosmonaut encountered an anomaly with the parachute system during descent. During the descent the drag chutes successfully deployed, but the main chutes failed to deploy from their container. Detecting increasing speeds, the computer deployed a backup parachute. Because the drag chute was still attached and failed to release, the backup chute became tangled with the drag chute, preventing the deployment of the backup chute and resulting in a high-speed impact with the ground.
One cosmonaut was lost.
Soyuz 5 | 1/18/1969 | Crew: 1 | Crew Injury | Related or Recurring event
Landing rockets failed to fire, resulting in a hard landing.
On January 18, 1969 the Soyuz 5 soft landing rockets failed to fire, resulting in a harder than normal landing. Because of the force of the impact, one crew member onboard broke his teeth.
Soyuz 18-1 (18a) | 4/5/1975 | Crew: 2 | Crew Injury | Related or Recurring event
After ascent abort, capsule landed on snowy slope above cliff. Parachute snagged and prevented fall.
During ascent on April 5, 1975 an electrical malfunction in the Soyuz booster prematurely fired two of the four explosive latches holding the core of the first and second stage together. This severed the electrical connections necessary for firing the remaining two latches. When the core first stage burned out it could not be cast off as designed.
Ignition of the second stage occurred normally, but the booster was rapidly dragged off course by the weight of the depleted core first stage. When the course deviation reached 10 degrees, the automatic safety system activated, shutting down the booster and separating the Soyuz capsule from the launch vehicle. At the time of separation, the Soyuz was 180 km high and traveling at 5.5 km per second.
The crew endured a 20+ g re-entry and landed in the Altai Mountains. The capsule rolled down a mountain side, and was caught in bushes just short of a precipice. After an hour of waiting in the cold next to the capsule, the crew was discovered by locals speaking Russian.
One crew member suffered internal injuries from the high-g re-entry and downhill fall and never flew again.
Soyuz 23 | 10/16/1976 | Crew: 2 | Related or Recurring event
Landed on frozen lake during blizzard. Delayed recovery.
On October 16, 1976 the Soyuz 23 descent module landed in Lake Tengiz, 2 km from shore. The water caused an electrical short which caused the reserve parachute to deploy. Parachute lines from the main and reserve parachute kept the capsule lying on its side in the water, preventing the hatch from opening and blocking the air vent. Transmission antennas became inoperable due to submersion in the water, and the inner walls of the capsule became covered with ice. The recovery team concluded the crew was dead and dragged the capsule to the shore to await the special team to remove the bodies. After eleven hours in the capsule the crew inside finally opened the hatch from the inside.
Soyuz 36 | 7/31/1980 | Crew: 2 | Related or Recurring event
Landing rockets failed to fire resulting in ~30 g impact.
On July 31, 1980 the Soyuz 36 soft landing rockets failed to fire before touchdown, resulting in an impact at more than 30 g.
Soyuz T-7 | 12/10/1982 | Crew: 2 | Related or Recurring event
Landed on hillside and rolled downhill. One cosmonaut thrown from seat.
On December 10, 1982 Soyuz T-7 landed on a hillside and rolled down the hill. One of the cosmonauts was thrown from his seat as a result of the rolling.
Soyuz TM-7 | 4/27/1989 | Crew: 2 | Crew Injury | Related or Recurring event
Double-impact “hard landing.”
On April 27, 1989 a double-impact, “hard landing” resulted in an injury to a crew member's leg. The injury required medical treatment at the landing site. The hard landing has been attributed to gusty winds at the landing site.
Soyuz TM-12 | 10/10/1993 | Crew: 3 | Related or Recurring event
Hard impact. News team reported capsule as “very dented.”
On October 10, 1991 Soyuz TM-12 experienced a hard landing impact, and a television crew reported that the capsule was 'very dented' and lying on its side.
Soyuz TM-14 | 8/10/1992 | Crew: 3 | Related or Recurring event
Hard landing impact. Hatch jammed, requiring cosmonauts to use tools to pry open.
On August 10, 1992 a hard landing impact led to the descent module turning over on its side and leaving the crew sideways. The spacecraft hatch also jammed and could not be opened from the outside, requiring the cosmonauts to use tools to pry it open. High winds in the landing area may have contributed to the severity of the impact.
Soyuz TM-15 | 2/1/1993 | Crew: 2 | Related or Recurring event
Rolled down hillside.
Upon landing on February 1, 1993 Soyuz TM-15 rolled down hill and stopped on its side 150 meters from the shore of a salt marsh.
Mercury MR-4 | 7/21/1969 | Crew: 1 | Loss of Capsule
Inadvertent hatch pyrotechnic firing. Capsule sunk. Astronaut nearly drowned.
After landing on July 21, 1961 the spacecraft hatch pyrotechnic charges prematurely fired. The crew member was able to escape from the emergency situation, but because of waves flooding the capsule, the capsule sunk. The crew member was nearly drowned when the flight suit took on water from an unsealed neckdam. The crew member was rescued after three to four minutes in the water.
Apollo 12 | 11/24/1969 | Crew: 3
Harder than normal splashdown knocked loose a camera. The camera knocked lunar module pilot unconscious.
Due to a harder than normal splashdown on November 24, 1969, a camera broke free from the window bracket and struck the lunar module pilot on the forehead. The crew member was unconscious for five seconds after the injury and required sutures following retrieval.
Apollo 15 | 8/7/1971 | Crew: 3
Landed with only 2 of 3 parachutes.
On August 7, 1971 the Apollo capsule, Endeavour, dropped into the Pacific Ocean about 320 miles (515 kilometers) north of Hawaii. During the Earth landing phase, after the main parachutes were deployed and shortly after Reaction Control System (RCS) propellant dumping, one of the main parachutes was observed to be deflated when exiting the clouds (3 of 6 fabric risers failed and two-thirds of the suspension lines were missing). One of the main parachutes was recovered after landing, but the failed parachute was not recovered.
The investigation was divided into three areas which were likely causes of the parachute failure.
The forward heat shield was suspected because of the close proximity to the spacecraft flight path during the period when the failure occurred.
A broken riser/suspension-line connector link was found on the recovered parachute, indicating the possibility of broken links in the failed chute.
The Command Module RCS propellant depletion firing had just been completed, and fuel (monomethyl hydrazine) expulsion was in progress at the time of the failure, indicating the possibility of damage from propellants.
Analysis and testing ruled out possible causes one and two, but a test of raw fuel expulsion after RCS firing produced burning outside of the engine. The flame front extended up to eight feet from the engine exit and unburned fuel was sprayed up to 10 feet from the engine and ignited by burning droplets. This was considered the most likely cause of the parachute failure.
Soyuz 15 | 8/28/1974 | Crew: 2
Descended through an electrical storm during night landing.
During the night of August 28, 1974 the capsule descended through an electrical storm.
STS-3 | 3/30/1982 | Crew: 2
Pilot induced oscillation during derotation. Stronger than predicted winds contributed.
On March 30, 1982 during orbiter derotation on rollout, the vehicle pitched up to approximately six degrees after having been down to -3 degrees pitch. This pitch up occurred because the pilot was preventing premature nose wheel contact. The planned late transition from autoland to manual control did not provide sufficient time for the pilot to feel the vehicle response, and attempts by the pilot to make minor trajectory adjustments resulted in a touchdown sooner than intended and at a higher than planned airspeed (225 Keas vs. 195 Keas). Subsequently, the derotation after main landing gear touchdown started at too high an airspeed and required the pilot to try and stop it at too low a pitch angle. The rapidly changing elevator trim requirements made it difficult to avoid over-controlling in this situation.
On all future missions, manual takeover from autoland was not planned to occur between the start of the preflare maneuver and touchdown. Flight procedures and crew training were also revised to be more explicit about keeping the nose up until the vehicle slows to 180 knots.
STS-9 | 12/8/1983 | Crew: 6
A. Two APUs caught fire during rollout.
B. GPC failed on touchdown.
C. Incorrect flight control rechannelization on rollout.
A) During rollout on December 8, 1983 two Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) caught fire. Six minutes and fifty seconds after the orbiter landed, APU-1 shut down automatically due to a turbine-underspeed condition. Four minutes and twenty-four seconds later, a detonation occurred in APU-1, along with simultaneous automatic shutdown of APU-2, also the result of a turbine-underspeed condition. Fourteen minutes and forty-two seconds after APU-2 shutdown, a detonation occurred on APU-2. Post-flight examination of the orbiter aft compartment revealed fire damage to both APUs and minor shrapnel damage. Post-flight analysis indicated that both APU failures were the result of stress-corrosion cracking in the injector stems of both APUs, which resulted in leakage of hydrazine and subsequent fire/explosion events. The injector stems were subsequently redesigned to reduce susceptibility to corrosion by chromizing the stem, and to reduce material stresses by making changes in the installation processes.
B) Also during landing on December 8, a General Purpose Computer (GPC) failed on touchdown and an incorrect flight control rechannelization occurred on rollout. Due to a failure on orbit, GPC 1 was powered down prior to entry (creating an off-nominal configuration), and the remaining GPCs (2, 3, 4, and 5) were configured for entry landing. During landing rollout, GPC 2, which had previously failed on orbit but was recovered prior to entry, failed again at nose-wheel slap down.
C) The crew reacted with procedures for computer loss in a nominal configuration with GPC 1 active and nominal Flight Control System channel assignments. The crew's execution of GPC 2 malfunction procedures in this off-nominal GPC string configuration resulted in the loss of the remaining two redundant flight control strings. This was not a problem on the runway, but could have resulted in loss of control in flight.
STS-51D | 4/19/1985 | Crew: 7
Right brake failed (locked up) causing blowout of inboard tire and significant damage to outboard tire.
On April 19, 1985 the right brake on the orbiter failed, causing the blowout of an inboard tire and significant damage to an outboard tire. A crosswind of about 8 knots, gusting up to 12, resulted in extra brake energy on the right brake while returning to and holding the runway centerline during rollout. The number 3 stator on both the inboard and outboard right main landing gear (MLG) brakes broke into several pieces, causing both brakes to lock during rollout. The inboard right brake locked at 20.6 knots and 113 feet, before the orbiter stopped and the outboard right brake locked for the last 5 feet of rollout. The right MLG inboard tire burst 33 feet after the inboard brake locked. Eleven of 16 cord layers were worn through before the tire burst. The right MLG brakes failed and locked due to thermal soak-back when the number 3 stators broke.
The corrective action includes the following standard procedures to prevent heat soak-back:
1. Brake-on velocity between 140 and 120 knots.
2. Deceleration rate between 8 and 10 ft/sec2.
3. Deceleration rate reduced to 6 ft/sec2 at 40 knots. If brake-on velocity exceeds 140 knots, continue 8 to 10 ft/sec2 deceleration.
STS-37 | 4/11/1991 | Crew: 5
Several factors contributed to a low-energy landing 623 feet prior to the threshold of the runway at the backup landing location.
Low Energy Landing
On April 11, 1991 the first landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center was waived due to fog, and a decision was made to land at the alternate landing site at Edwards Air Force Base. The entry wind profile included a large wind shear (from 90 kts at 13,000 feet to 10 kts at 8,000 feet). These conditions fell outside the Edwards Air Force Base 99 percent wind profile from 20,000 feet to 10,000 feet and significantly outside the shuttle experience base from 30,000 feet to 10,000 feet.
Around the Heading Alignment Circle (HAC), a significant amount of energy was lost due to a consistent negative pitch attitude error, and being outside of the HAC reference. The HAC is designed to provide an “energy pad” for use while making the approach. If guidance senses that the vehicle's energy state is getting very low (it uses altitude below a reference altitude and degrees of turn remaining to make the judgment), the HAC radius is decreased to help make up for the lower energy state. At approximately 23,000 feet the low-energy state triggered HAC shrink (when the range-to-go “distance from the vehicle to the runway” falls below the max lift/drag line). The HAC shrink was triggered due to the altitude being approximately 2-3,000 feet low, and increased the error from the HAC reference. A slow convergence back to the altitude reference was seen though the energy state remained low. At 13,500 feet the vehicle encountered a sharp wind shear reducing the vehicle's airspeed driving the energy state even lower. The vehicle again encountered wind shear at 8,600 feet in altitude. Touchdown occurred 623 feet prior to the threshold at 168 kts.
It is believed that the loss of energy on the HAC combined with the inadequate correction back to the altitude profile, both coming off the HAC and through the wind shear, resulted in the low-energy touchdown.
STS-90 | 5/3/1998 | Crew: 7
Hard, fast landing due to human factors and rogue wind gust. Hardest shuttle landing.
Following the landing on May 3, 1998 the post-mission report indicated a harder than normal landing. The main gear touchdown speed was 196.2 Keas with a sink rate of -3.18 feet/second. Brake energies were all below 15 million ft-lbs. The rollout distance was 9769.3 feet. Imagery analysis indicated a main landing gear sink rate of -6.7 ft/sec and a "harder than normal" landing. The Mission Operations Directorate Space Shuttle Summary reported touchdown of the main landing gear at 218 Keas, a -6.0 ft/sec sink rate, and a rollout distance of 9998 feet.
STS-108 | 12/7/2001 | Crew: 7
Violation of minimum landing weather requirements.
On December 17, 2001 the Shuttle Meteorology Group forecasted a “no go” for the de-orbit burn due to a weather forecast predicting the creation of a cloud ceiling at landing time. The Shuttle Training Aircraft reported a “go” based on observed conditions. Several positive factors provided the Flight Director with confidence to give a GO for landing on orbit 186, despite a weather forecast which could result in the crew being unable to see the Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPIs) or runway environment until 3,000 feet or below. The GO was given with the belief that the cloud layer at 3,000 feet would break and that the PAPIs and runway environment would be visible by 6,500 feet. However, the cloud ceiling did not break and a flight rule was violated, but waived following the flight.
STS-137 | 6/1/2011 | Crew: 7
Brief fire observed between the left main landing gear tires during runway rollout.
STS-134 landed on June 1, 2011. During analysis of the post-landing imagery, a fire was briefly observed during the rollout period, located between the left Main Landing Gear tires shortly after the drag chute was jettisoned. Detailed visual inspections, material analysis, and landing gear systems tests were performed in an effort to determine the root cause of the fire. However, no definitive root cause could be determined. The fire may have been operational, because the commander applied the brakes in excess of recommended deceleration rates, especially at the lower speeds, resulting in the shortest landing rollout on a concrete runway surface since the drag chute had been used. The excessive braking may have generated higher than normal temperatures within the brake.
LANDING & POSTLANDING