Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Research | By Francis Brooks

Russian Federation blames rocket failure on mistake during assembly

Russian Federation blames rocket failure on mistake during assembly

A top Russian official earlier blamed the failure on a malfunction of a sensor but didn't explain why it didn't work.

The launch failure last month of a manned mission to space was caused by a faulty sensor that was damaged during the Soyuz rocket's assembly at the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the head of a Russian commission investigating the incident said on Thursday.

Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague had to abort their mission on October 11 and perform an emergency landing after the Soyuz rocket supposed to carry them to the International Space Station failed.

Russian officials believe the component was damaged during assembly.

Two more Soyuz rockets at the Baikonur and Kourou spaceports with the same defect have been discovered, Skorobogatov said, with additional checks introduced into the rocket assembly process.

"The reason for the abnormal separation. was due to a deformation of the stem of the contact separation sensor.", Skorobogatov told reporters.

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The incident, on 11 October, was the first serious launch problem by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983.

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.

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 file photo, the Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, flies in the sky at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

Roscosmos officials on Wednesday met with their counterparts from NASA to give them a full briefing on the malfunction, Roscosmos director general Dmitry Rogozin said Thursday.

Krikalev said the next launch will now be moved forward to December 3, and will carry the same crew as originally intended on this mission, MS-11: Russian Oleg Kononenko, American Anne McClain, and Canadian David Saint-Jacques.

Russian space officials say they hope to resume sending crews to the International Space Station on December 3 after an October launch failed because of a technical malfunction. When the Soyuz launch failed earlier this month, uncertainty over the ISS crew launch schedule led to speculation that the space station would have to be abandoned, at least for the time being. The U.S. companies SpaceX and Boeing are developing astronaut taxis under multibillion-dollar NASA contracts, and both vehicles are scheduled to make their first crewed test flights in the middle of next year.

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