Russian Federation blames rocket failure on mistake during assembly

02 November, 2018, 00:42 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • Russian official says Soyuz rocket failure caused by an errant sensor

Just yesterday the Russian space agency Roscosmos revealed that it has completed its investigation into the failure of its Soyuz rocket on a recent launch that was supposed to send two crew members to the International Space Station.

The Russian rocket that carried two people to space last month failed and sent the craft back to Earth because of "deformation" of a part that was made during assembly at the cosmodrome, a space official said on November 1.

It was the fourth time a Soyuz called upon ballistic reentry to avoid disaster, and the first major issue with a manned Soyuz mission since 1983.

They warned that two other Soyuz rockets could be defective, and said additional checks have been introduced.

The crew - Nick Hague, a NASA astronaut, and Alexey Ovchinin, a Russian cosmonaut - had their space capsule ejected from the rocket and survived without injury.

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

The findings of an official investigation into the incident were presented at a press conference on Thursday.

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The malfunction led to one of the four boosters on the first stage failing to detach correctly and colliding with a fuel tank of the second stage, which exploded.

Roscosmos deputy durector Alexander Lopatin noted Thursday that the October 11 accident caused Roscosmos "reputational damage", but noted such incidents were not unique to Russian cosmonautics, and said that accidents are important lessons which must be learned from. Both men were fine.

"The reason found by the commission (investigating the accident) was the abnormal operation of a sensor that signals the separation of the first and second stages", Krikalyov said at a space industry event in Moscow.

"We have conclusively established that the only place where [damage to the sensor] could have taken place was the Baikonur cosmodrome during the rocket's assembly".

Russian Federation is the only country now able to send crew to the ISS, after Nasa's Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011.

"The abnormal separation was caused by the nonopening of the lid of the nozzle meant to separate aside Block D oxidizer tank, due to the deformation of the separation sensor pin [which was bent by 6 degrees and 45 minutes]", Roscosmos officials said in a statement today.

It seems likely a NASA astronaut could be on that December flight.

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