Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Russian Soyuz Rocket Failure Caused By Damaged Sensor, Reveals Probe

Sergei Savostyanov  TASS Sergei Savostyanov TASS
Frank Williams | 01 November, 2018, 17:26

The Soyuz-FG rocket carrying a NASA astronaut and a Roscosmos cosmonaut failed two minutes into the October 11 flight, sending their emergency capsule into a sharp fall back to Earth.

Russian Federation suspended all launches after the accident on October 11, unprecedented for Russia's post-Soviet manned launches, that saw the rocket fail minutes after blast-off.

Although the official report on the cause of a Soyuz rocket failure won't be released until Thursday, a Russian official disclosed its central conclusion a day early, the country's news agency TASS reports.

Krikalyov blamed a "malfunction" of the sensor separating the first and second stages of the rocket for the problem and said that efforts were being taken to ensure the safety of future flights.

In the aborted mission, a space capsule carrying a two-man Russian-American crew malfunctioned after liftoff and landed safely in Kazakhstan.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Wednesday it hopes to resume manned missions with a three-person launch to the ISS on 3 December.

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The chief investigator at Roscosmos, Igor Skorobogatov, said during the press briefing that two other Soyuz rockets could possibly have the same defect and that more checks have been introduced during the assembly process.

The last time Russian Federation saw an aborted manned launch was in 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts jettisoned and landed safely after a launch pad explosion. The failed launch involved an older Soyuz-FG rocket, which is "in principle the same rocket" as used in last week's launch but has less engine power in the third stage, space expert Konstantin Kreidenko told AFP.

The rocket had been transporting two personnel, one Russian and one American, to the International Space Station (ISS) when they had to abort.

"It has been proven, fully confirmed, that this happened specifically because of this sensor, and that could only have happened during the package's assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome", he said.

The crew is set to include Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who was originally scheduled to fly to the station December 20 on a six-month mission.

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is now the only vehicle for ferrying crews to the International Space Station after the US space shuttle fleet retired.

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