Sci-tech

Soyuz launch failure due to deformation during assembly: Russian official

Soyuz launch failure due to deformation during assembly: Russian official

Roscosmos officials explained that a malfunctioning sensor led to an issue with the separation between the two rocket stages, causing one piece of the rocket to fail to separate fully, sending the rocket into a spin and prompting the instant abort.

Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, has released footage from a camera on board the Soyuz rocket that failed last month, forcing a dramatic emergency landing of the two astronauts on board.

The Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin failed shortly into the October 11 flight, sending their capsule into a sharp fall back to Earth. The two men landed safely on a steppe in Kazakhstan in the accident, the first of its kind for Russia's manned program in over three decades.

The accident involving the Soyuz-FG was caused by a faulty sensor on one of the rocket's side blocks during disengagement from the central block, Oleg Skorobogatov, chairman of the emergency commission assigned to investigate the incident, told reporters in Moscow on Thursday. "It was damaged during the assembling of the strap-on boosters with the core stage (the Packet) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome".

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.

Russian rockets are manufactured in Russia and then transported by rail to the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome.

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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.

Roscosmos officials on Wednesday met with their counterparts from NASA to give them a full briefing of the incident, Roscosmos director general Dmitry Rogozin said on 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 plan to conduct two other unmanned Soyuz launches before launching a crew to the space station.

But the failure is worrisome, since Soyuz is the only human-rated spacecraft used to get people to and from the space station.

It was the third launch of a Soyuz rocket from Russia's northern Plesetsk launch pad this year, the military said.


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